McGovern College Faculty, Staff, and Students:
The last week has been difficult for all of us, witnessing as we have two senseless mass shootings--including one targeted specifically at women and at the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community. I share the pain and anxiety many of you are feeling in the wake of these events.
It is appropriate at times like these to recall the statement of solidarity we made in June, 2020, following similarly senseless acts of violence. We pointed at that time to the racist nature of much of this violence--a racism far too often stoked by those in positions of leadership nationwide. I personally stated, furthermore, that the pain I feel watching these events is the same pain shared by many of you, even though I understand that I may not have the personal experience or perspective to truly know that pain in all its aspects. I continue to appreciate the diverse points of view that are brought to our college, to its leadership, and to its faculty, staff, and students by all the citizens of our community, on and off campus.
You may read my statement of June 1, 2020 here. I also call your attention to the ongoing work of the McGovern College Task Force on Anti-Racism and the numerous anti-racist initiatives in which we have engaged throughout the College and all of its units--including those described in my communications of June 15, 2020; July 16, 2020; and August 5, 2020. I am collaborating regularly with those in College leadership to develop and successfully execute all of these initiatives.
I will reiterate, finally, that at times like these, we as artists must continue to engage productively in finding solutions that will dismantle the systemic oppression that largely explains the unrest and violence happening around us. These are complicated problems that will require complicated solutions, and thus this continues to be a time of significant need for advocacy for the value of the arts and higher education. I therefore ask everyone to join me in continuing the work we have initiated--work that will bring us closer to an understanding of one another and that will lead us closer to that aspirational ideal of “one nation” articulated in our country’s founding principles and executed so imperfectly and inadequately over so many years.