Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
As many of you may have watched or read yesterday, Derek Chauvin was convicted of all charges in the death of George Floyd. It’s important that we recognize the importance of yesterday’s verdict and the message it sends about humanity, racial justice and equality.
I know this tragedy has weighed heavily on the minds and hearts of so many of us over the past year – and especially, over the past few weeks, as the trial retold the actions that led to George Floyd’s death. I share your same desire that every person be treated equally and fairly.
I also take this moment to reaffirm Indiana University East’s unwavering commitment to provide a safe, civil environment for our students, faculty and staff and that we denounce all forms of bigotry, hate and racism.
Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz shared that yesterday’s “verdict is an important step forward for justice” and I am hopeful that this moment in history will serve as a turning point for our country and will lead to significant and meaningful progress toward racial justice and healing.
Similarly, IU Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs James Wimbush expressed his thoughts about the verdict and the importance that our work toward justice and equality continue:
“Today I am thinking of George Floyd’s family and all who grieve for those who have lost their lives too soon. The decision of the court to find Derek Chauvin guilty is no doubt a relief but by no means an end. While the temptation to move on from this tumultuous time may seem appealing, it is vital we do not forget that there is still work to be done. Celebrating justice is wonderful, but it means very little if we grow content and assume that all has been made right in the world. Together we must continue to move forward and constantly address our relationship with race —whether personal, professional, or institutional—to ensure a more equitable, fair, and just future for us all. If you feel the need to take a moment and breathe a sigh of relief, please do so with the knowledge there is more to be done tomorrow.”
As Dr. Wimbush mentioned, we may need to take a moment and breathe or share our feelings with others. For those who may be feeling overwhelmed or would like to talk, resources are available. Please feel free to contact Jennifer Claypoole, director of Behavioral Health, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-973-8646 or Yemi Mahoney, IU East Chief Diversity Officer and special assistant to the Chancellor, at email@example.com or 765-973-8402.
I am also pleased to share that the IU East Diversity Committee is planning to host a Virtual Listening Session after finals week. The virtual event will occur at noon on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. More details about the event will be shared soon and I encourage you to participate.