Dear faculty and staff colleagues,
This has been a deeply painful and disturbing week for our nation, with the video that has emerged of George Floyd and his horrible death in police custody in Minneapolis. I am appalled that this tragedy joins a long line of other such deaths. And I am pained by the violence that has sprung up in communities in the aftermath of the blatant injustices.
Floyd was a native North Carolinian, and today it was announced that a memorial service will be held Saturday in Raeford, barely 80 miles from Chapel Hill, which brings this tragedy all the closer to our home.
While we struggle to make sense of the senselessness, we continue the struggle to understand and fight a pandemic that has already left many of us feeling isolated, fearful and vulnerable. How can we begin to heal when we cannot even come together as a community?
I am not writing to provide platitudes. I am writing to acknowledge the generations-deep systemic racism that has led to the unfair treatment of our fellow citizens in a country that prides itself on equality and justice for all. There are no easy answers or solutions ahead of us. I believe that Carolina can play an important role in the way forward. It is the role of the College of Arts & Sciences to teach the complexity of our history, embrace approaches to further dialogue and equip our students to lead in the creation of a more just and equitable society.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has provided a wealth of anti-racism resources on its website. I encourage you to take advantages of these resources, as we all use this time to grieve, reflect, heal, imagine and forge a new direction.
As always, should you have thoughts and concerns you would like to share with me, I encourage you to reach out. Only together will we become a better and more inclusive University and country.
Terry Ellen Rhodes, Dean
College of Arts & Sciences