Dear Niner Nation,
Like so many of you and others around the nation, I was heartbroken by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Monday night and the horrifying video of his final moments. The recent killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are further examples of the systemic racial injustice that continues to plague our country.
I want to acknowledge the pain, trauma, and frustration that many of our students, faculty, and staff are feeling. These events have a powerful and personal impact on members of our community. Last night in Charlotte, we witnessed the community's unrest in response to the death of George Floyd as many people organized in protest of the ongoing racism against the Black community.
I join with others to ask: What can I do? What can we do as a University that is committed to creating an equitable and safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff in one of the most diverse and vibrant urban cities in America?
As a community of educators and scholars, we hold a special responsibility to raise our voices to condemn the violence against Black people, other people of color, and other historically marginalized identities. It is up to us to lead, modeling civility, respect, and holding true to the values of diversity and inclusion that ensure all members of our community will thrive. At UNC Charlotte, I want us to question why incidents such as these occur, and what role we can play in creating an equitable and just world. We cannot accept apathy or indifference or silence; otherwise, we allow hatred, prejudice, and intolerance to grow.
One of the many special qualities of Niner Nation is the rich diversity of our community, feedback we consistently hear from students about why they love this University. For our African-American students, faculty, and staff, know that your Niner Nation family is here to support you. We always want to ensure that everyone feels welcome on campus, and that we are consistently providing a safe and inclusive environment.
If you need support during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to the resources available to you.
Counseling services are available to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program and to students through the Christine F. Price Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). These services will continue throughout the summer. Our Office of Identity, Equity and Engagement staff members are also available to support members of our community.
The Counseling and Psychological Services Center is hosting a student-centered Healing and Empowerment Gathering on WebEx to develop self-care, coping strategies, and connection for Black students who have been impacted by racial injustice from 2 – 3:30 p.m., Thursday, June 4. You may register here.
Unfortunately, as we know all too well, racism and bigotry will not end overnight. But we will never create a community and world where everyone is equally valued and protected unless we speak out, show up, and advocate for the rights of all.
Philip L. Dubois