Dear CEAS community,
I am writing to speak to the pain that our communities of color are feeling, particularly Black communities in response to the brutal deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Their senseless deaths have contributed to the longstanding suffering and grief of Black communities across the nation and around the world. Black students, staff and faculty—you matter. Your lives matter. All Black lives matter.
It is important for me to reinforce that our college condemns all acts of racism and racist violence. I encourage you to read interim Dean Keith Molenaar’s June 2 message to the college and Chancellor Phil DiStefano’s May 29 message and today’s video message to the university community.
To continue to work toward our shared values of inclusion, equity and honoring diversity, each of us must become more aware, knowledgeable and diligent in shifting our behaviors and our community toward anti-racism. As Ijeoma Oluo, leader and author of So You Want to Talk About Race, states, “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it's the only way forward."
Many of you may already be engaging in discussions around race, deepening your understanding of racism, and advocating in support of Black communities. Others of you may be curious about where to begin. Let’s come together to deepen our connection, support and understanding of one another, increase our awareness and learning around the historical and current realities of racism, and consistently take anti-racist action.
I am here to listen, provide space for dialogue, facilitate development opportunities and empower you to amplify your voices. Our college is working to create opportunities for us to come together virtually, so please be aware that these will be communicated soon. These will include online spaces with robust resources to support our college’s development in support of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism. For now, I want to share a few resources that may support you initially:
- Racial Equity Tools Glossary to better understand racism
- Black Lives Matter documentary series What Matters
- Podcast episode with Brené Brown with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist
- Catherine Halley’s article "Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus"
More immediately, I invite our undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, staff and faculty to email me for individual or small group conversation, coaching or additional resources and to stay connected with campus support resources available for students, staff and faculty. As we navigate the coming days, weeks and months ahead we must care for ourselves and one another.
In a civil society, we are all responsible for justice, and we need to come together to support each other in trying times. CEAS will not stand for racism or anti-Blackness, and we must continue to work together to provide a safe, inclusive environment for all Buffs.
Amy E. Moreno, M.Ed.
Director of Inclusive Culture