Dear Niner Nation,
Today, we learned of the verdict for Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer on trial for the murder of George Floyd: guilty of all charges. For Mr. Floyd’s family, his friends and so many in the nation, this verdict concludes what have been excruciating weeks of reliving Mr. Floyd’s final moments.
During the past month alone, the urgency for change has been further exacerbated by the police-related shootings of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and Adam Toledo in Chicago, among others. These shootings heighten the need and the demand for investigative scrutiny of the systems and policies that have allowed these incidents to continue to repeat themselves.
For far too long, Black Americans have sought justice for unjust and inequitable treatment. We are not naive to believe one verdict will change the course for all violence against Black, Brown and other historically oppressed and marginalized people. Difficult work remains, and it is for all of us to make sure this marks the beginning of a transformation to a more equitable and just world.
As a University community, we denounce every form of hatred, bigotry, racism and violence, and strive to create an environment that celebrates and supports one another.
Today’s news is likely to evoke many emotions in our community, ranging from hopefulness to anxiousness. We invite students, faculty and staff to participate in these opportunities to engage in dialogue, heal, and offer support:
Healing and Empowerment Gatherings
- A student-centered space open to all students to develop self-care, coping strategies, and understanding of the trial’s impact on Black students.
- Tuesday, April 27, 3-4:30 p.m.
- Thursday, May 6, 1-2:30 p.m.
- Register today
- A space for all students who wish to seek support in a one-on-one capacity. These sessions are brief, informal consultations with a CAPS staff member and focus on problem-solving
- Confidential, and no appointment is necessary
- More information on times and dates is available here.
Introspections at All Intersections for Black Folx
- Virtual yoga open to all UNC Charlotte students, staff and faculty, focusing on the mind/body connection for the benefit of healing
- Wednesday, April 28, 5:30 p.m.
- Register today
In addition, a panel of Criminal Justice and Criminology faculty will discuss the implications for law enforcement, the legal issues of the criminal trial and the impact this incident will have on race relations in American society. More details will be shared in Niner Insider soon.
Now and in the future, your health and well-being is a priority so please take advantage of the many care options available to the members of our UNC Charlotte community. Please contact CAPS at any time or visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion website to learn more about other resources.
As a public institution of higher education in an increasingly diverse city, we have a responsibility to facilitate productive conversation and encourage positive change. To that end:
- UNC Charlotte and several other Charlotte-based universities are working together as members of the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium to embrace a comprehensive narrative on race and to develop faculty, staff and student leaders who work on their campuses toward truth, racial healing and transformation.
- The newly formed advisory board for campus police and public safety, which includes a sub-committee formed in partnership with the Student Government Association, is working to strengthen the relationship between students and our campus police department.
- Our Alumni Association created a Scholarship for Social Justice to support and uplift current students engaged in social action, racial justice and economic efforts in their communities.
As a University community, racism degrades our pursuit of true equity, liberty and justice, and it undermines our ability to create opportunity through teaching, research and service.
We are committed to finding ways to work toward equitable treatment for all people — for a world that is just, where people do not live in fear because of the color of their skin, where everyone has the same opportunities to grow and thrive, and where there is no doubt that Black lives matter.
Sharon L. Gaber, Ph.D.
Cheryl Waites Spellman, Ed.D.
Interim Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion