Dear School of Education faculty, students, and staff:
The recent violent and unjust deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are but the latest in a long history of racism, injustice, atrocities, discrimination, and disparities suffered by Black people and people of color in our country. There hardly is a facet of life where these systemic inequities and disparities are not manifested in the daily struggles of people of color.
To our Black faculty, students and staff, as well as your families, friends and community members: We hear you when you say you are suffering profound pain, anger, frustration, sadness, and exhaustion; and we see you as you engage in peaceful protest. We stand in solidarity with you and know that racism is real and ingrained in our society and, above all, should be eliminated. We know that many or perhaps all of you are struggling to manage work demands as you endure the emotional toll of these events. We are each working to identify ways to support you, and if there are ways that we can help, we hope you will reach out to us.
We have no doubt that this nation will, in relatively short order, beat the SARS-Cov-2 virus and mitigate the grave health and economic impacts, fears about safety and wellbeing, and anxieties related to going about daily living brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are experienced by all people across the nation. However, Black people will continue their daily struggles with systemic racism, police brutality and associated educational, health, economic and safety disparities well beyond that point. To us, this thought is deeply saddening and frustrating, and demands action. Education can and should be the cornerstone to that action and the hope to realize change; to dismantle systemic racism.
As a School, we are committed to bringing our collective expertise in research and teaching, as well as our programming to prepare educators and researchers who work proactively to address systemic inequities and white supremacy in education and in our society. Together, we advance and celebrate diversity, fight discrimination, foster inclusion, and advocate for equity in every aspect of the lives of all members of our communities, especially those directly and indirectly affected by violence and racially motivated acts.
We have no doubt that you all share these commitments and work hard every day to make them a reality.
Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean
David Churchill, assistant dean for finance & operations
Leslie Deslis, assistant dean for development
Jeff Greene, associate dean for academic affairs & director of graduate studies
Dana Griffin, chair of the faculty
Jill Hamm, associate dean for research & faculty development
Diana Lys, assistant dean for educator preparation & accreditation, and interim assistant dean for student affairs