Published: Nov. 10, 2020 By

Essay writers collageThis edition of the Coloradan calls out unrelenting injustice, and a new chapter in our university’s long history of amplifying student and alumni voices to catalyze change.

Eight essayists have shared their personal experiences with racism on and around the CU Boulder campus and throughout their lives, as well as insight on anti-racist actions, to commence a united effort to create the equitable and just community we are capable of becoming.

We cannot look away from the genuine and harrowing experiences and perspectives of our students and alumni. Their stories serve to illuminate our fault lines and failures as we strive to be a better and more inclusive institution. The essayists also provide vision and tangible steps to move forward as a community.

We listen to these voices. We see our fellow Buffs. And we acknowledge that anything short of participating in holistic change isn’t enough.

As civil rights legend and longtime congressman John Lewis said, “If you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.”

We have to take decisive, immediate action. As a university defined by diversity, equity and inclusion, it is incumbent upon all of us to act together, swiftly, meaningfully, in unison. Now.

I, along with campus leadership and stakeholders, am implementing the multiple priorities of our Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan, which will continue to serve as our campus blueprint to strengthen climate, culture and leadership. This fall, we announced the search for a new chief diversity officer who will report directly to me as we make financial investments in recruitment and retention. Moreover, we will find and initiate ways to honor alums, students, faculty and staff who have contributed to CU’s rich history.

We must swing the pendulum of CU’s history in a new direction. We are building the foundation of cooperation, compassion and talent to make meaningful change.

At this moment in time, it is critical Buffs join the movement and take action to create positive impact. Read and listen to the essays, both in print and the expanded collection online, familiarize yourself with the diversity plan and find an area to engage in and further this conversation while we build community, understanding and change.

When we work together, progress will carry the day.


Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano


Essayists, clockwise from top left: Obinna Onyeali, Paris Ferribee, Shamika Goddard, Philip Hart, Olivia Pearman, Ruth Woldemichael

Photos by Matt Tyrie; Ruth Woldemichael; Arnold Turner (Philip Hart)