Published: June 4, 2020

Dear Leeds community,

It has been a heart wrenching two weeks. Having to bear witness to the brutal killing of George Floyd in concert with other acts of violence against Black people across the country, many communities including our own have been left to deal with the resulting pain, anguish, and anger. We also know that the response we have seen does not stem from just these recent events, but rather the historic nature of oppression and violence against Black communities in our country. While I can never truly know what it is to face racism day in and day out, I stand beside all of you with a broken heart, pledging to be an ally of action. I will continue to listen and take action in ensuring safety and equity of our Black students, staff, and faculty. I will engage our community here at Leeds and beyond in our efforts to be and do better around issues of equity, inclusion, and safety. Toward this end, our team is working on actionable steps within Leeds which we will share as soon as we are able.

An institution of higher education is a special place. As Leeds faculty and staff, we recognize the incredible honor and responsibility to inform and shape the thoughts and actions of the future generation of leaders. We at Leeds take this responsibility seriously. We know that a critical part of that commitment is examining tough issues; not shying away from hard discussions; and living by and demonstrating daily our strong set of values. One of our five values at Leeds is Inclusion:

  • We create an environment where everyone is uniquely and collectively valued
  • We recognize that differing perspectives lead to deeper understanding, greater creativity and improved outcomes
  • We seek to develop empathy and to continuously learn from and about others

We will continue to act with this value front and center. Yet we recognize that simply embracing the value of inclusion is not enough. We stand resolutely against racism in all its forms.

I can’t help but feel hope amidst the anger and despair. I have witnessed first-hand the incredible strength, empathy, compassion, openness, creativity, and resilience of our broader Leeds community. I see an opportunity to use our increased awareness and the passion for justice it stirs to deepen our conversations and inspire new actions focused on how we can work together to actively shape a better future.

Please take good care of yourselves in this moment, and reach out to others around you whom you can support. Working together as a community, I know we can all do better.

Most sincerely,

Sharon Matusik
Leeds School of Business