Response to Current Events in Minneapolis
Dear Purchase College Community,
It has been nearly a week since my last email to the community. However, it seems like much longer as we witness the bravery of protesters around the country who are standing up for the rights and safety of the Black community under the banner of Black Lives Matter.
In many cases, these protesters are endangering their own safety to be there, risking possible exposure to COVID-19, arrest, and even bodily harm. We join the protesters in condemning racism. We also know it is not enough to condemn racism. We need to be proactively antiracist. Furthermore, we affirm the protestors’ rights to peacefully protest. We honor their accomplishments as they continue to draw international attention to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black victims of violence.
While news came of the subsequent arrests and charges of all four police officers involved in the killing of Mr. Floyd, we know the issue is far from resolved. Even here on our campus many of our Black students, faculty, and staff are struggling with the long-term effects of racism in multiple aspects of their lives. We want those community members to know that we hear them, we are listening, and we support them.
Therefore, I wanted to restate our commitment and support of the important work that the Office of Diversity and Compliance is doing to ensure that our community lives up to our values of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
In the coming days, Jerima DeWese, our Chief Diversity Officer, will send an update on the important changes we will be making to strengthen and update our practices and policies, while other offices, academic programs, and committees will share resources and ways to become involved.
As we work together for justice, it is my pledge that you will find support in our community.
May 29, 2020
Members of the Purchase College Community,
We are saddened by the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. More than that, we are angry at the situation that led to his demise. Every person who resides in our country should have the right to be safe in their own community, regardless of their race, background, or any other personal characteristics.
While Minneapolis is across the country from our campus, we invoke the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who wrote that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
As our thoughts go out to Mr. Floyd’s family, friends, and community members, we are also thinking of our own community and how we can help work for justice.
While we are not together at this time, we ask that when our semester begins that we take on important issues together through educating ourselves and others, engaging in open dialogue, and undertaking honest self-reflection.
We also ask that you get involved with the many training opportunities, events, and clubs offered throughout the year that deal with a wide range of issues related to social justice.
Until then, we hope that you stay safe and healthy.