I spent much of this past weekend, as many of you did, transfixed by the events playing out in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The manner of Floyd’s death shook me. But I realized this morning that my revulsion was not enough. I have a responsibility to show support and empathy directly to the students we are molding into educated, responsible, ethical individuals and to provide support and comfort to our faculty and staff.
Throughout our lives, we are all going to encounter situations that we don’t fully understand. Many of our students and co-workers do, unfortunately, understand all too well the unconscionable events of the past weeks – from Christian Cooper’s being racially profiled in Central Park to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, and with the killing of Ahmaud Arbery still fresh in their minds. I know that because of these acts, many of you are hurting. They are a reminder that however much we try to correct inequities in society, there remains much, much more work to do.
In the face of ongoing injustice, racism and intolerance, we at Wingate University must recommit ourselves every day to education, to service and to each other. As a university, we are called to be part of the solution. One thing we can do today is check in on our colleagues, peers and students. Make sure they’re OK during this time. Listen to them. It’s a good place to start as we face the task ahead of us: the work of justice, of understanding and of improvement for all humankind.
What affects one of our students, or one of our colleagues, affects us all.
June 1, 2020