April 21, 2021
A Landmark on the Journey
We, along with the nation, watched intently the proceedings from the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. We listened, knowing that the jury’s verdict would be a pivotal moment in history for how our communities and institutions confront racism, as well as an indicator of collective will in our country to keep fighting.
While our eyes and ears were fixed on the perpetrator, our hearts and minds were focused on George Floyd, his family, and his friends. His death, his murder still saddens us and will forever weigh heavy on us.
The news from the trial signified the end of a case, but it does not signal the end of a cause. The decision closed one chapter in criminal justice, but it does not complete the story of racial justice. The outcome relieves inequality, but it does not achieve equity. Yesterday’s verdict is an opportunity to pause and take note of a landmark along our journey. But, it also reassures hope and quickens pace to reach our ultimate destination.
We remain committed and affirmed in our organizational and individual responsibilities to act and operate in anti-racist ways. As healthcare workers, we know that racism leads to illness, disease, and death; and persists as a public health crisis that Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color have unfairly and inexcusably had to bear the burden of. As educators, we must better ourselves to provide underrepresented students safe, inclusive learning environments while preparing all students to care for patients and clients without bias and discrimination. As scientists, we need to engage communities with humility and allow their interests to inform what and how we research. And, as an institution, we hold accountability to shape a more just society so all can thrive.
We align our reflections and call to action with that articulated by UW President Ana Mari Cauce.
As we navigate these next few hours, days, and weeks, we encourage you to reach out for support or access any of the upcoming UW-related opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to gather. For students experiencing fear or grief, please consider contacting TeResa Regan (firstname.lastname@example.org), a licensed mental health counselor, for free, confidential counseling services. You may also reach out to SafeCampus (206-685-7233) or the UW Counseling Center (866-743-7732) — both are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. UW employees can access counseling and mental health resources at UW CareLink.
-Azita Emami, Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Executive Dean
-Butch de Castro, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion