Dear members of the UW community,
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Three more Black lives snuffed out and lost to our world either at the hands of police or, in the case of Arbery, white racists being protected by local law enforcement. While we shouldn’t need it, these deaths serve as yet another reminder of the pervasiveness of racism and our failure to adequately address it.
As a UW community – all three campuses – please remember that at this time, many of our students, staff, and faculty are hurting. Many of us were already struggling to deal with the shift to emergency remote learning, financial hardships, family health issues and emotional strain related to the pandemic.
Now, on top of all of that, we are also faced with the collective trauma from the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Our hearts break for their families and our communities.
For members of the Black community, we see you, and we acknowledge the deep pain, anguish, and extra trauma you are carrying right now due to this senseless loss of life. In the midst of these challenging times, when the pressures stemming from our history of racial violence and ensuing trauma feel heavy and unyielding, please know that we are here to uplift you, and we are in community with you.
We have no answers in this message. Just a shared understanding that we stand with you in the pain of the moment as we ourselves search for answers and justice. In 2015, President Cauce called on our community to “combat the racism and inequities, both individual and institutional, that persist here and throughout our society” when she established the UW’s Race and Equity Initiative. Her commitment – and ours – to the continuation of that work is unwavering. We are united and unequivocal that antiracism must be at the core of all we do if we are to dismantle the destructive and oppressive effects of white privilege and systemic racism, which is the cornerstone of all U.S. social institutions, including our criminal justice system. This work is all of our work.
We realize there are cumulative effects to these traumas. If you need help here are some resources.
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. We say their names to honor their lives and make them matter.
Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity
University Diversity Officer
Assistant Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion
Acting Dean of Diversity & Equity