As diversity officers at the University of Texas at Austin, we are grieved, horrified, saddened by the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, as well as countless others who have lost their lives to acts of racial violence. These egregious acts of racial profiling, physical violence, and death of Black individuals are taking place against a backdrop of a global pandemic that places in bold relief the wrenching inequities that have divided our nation as the virus disproportionately ravages communities of color.
We recognize that we are experiencing more than just a moment of discomfort and discontent. Our nation’s dark history has led to this critical moment in time. This is a history that we must grapple with, as we collectively struggle to move forward together.
As diversity officers we want our community and particularly its Black members, many of whom grew up in the same city as George Floyd and may have known him or his people, to know that we are here for you. We understand that these recent senseless events are triggering, tragic, and a stark reminder that Black lives are fragile and can be stolen from us at any moment.
We urge everyone to remember that if one of us is hurting, then we all hurt. Our silence in the face of injustice sends a negative message to the most vulnerable members of our university community. Now, more than ever, we reaffirm and reinvigorate our commitment to supporting an equitable, inclusive, and just institution in which violence, hate, and intolerance are not accepted and are actively combatted.
We encourage all members of our university community to check in on and support each other, recognizing that these recent events differently impact our students and colleagues in very deep and personal ways.
We also encourage our community members to reach out directly to their college or school’s diversity officer for any support, guidance, and resources that they may need.
In Support and Solidarity,
The Coalition of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officers, University of Texas at Austin
Ya’Ke Smith, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Moody College of Communication
Esther J. Calzada, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, Steve Hicks School of Social Work
Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Edmund T. Gordon, Vice Provost for Diversity, University of Texas at Austin
Shavonne Henderson, Director of Student Equity and Inclusion, School of Law
Christine Julien, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Cockrell School of Engineering
Samuel Moore, Director of Outreach and Diversity, Jackson School of Geosciences
Shelley Payne, Advisor to the Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, College of Natural Sciences
Monique Pikus, Director of Diversity and Organizational Climate, College of Liberal Arts
Rene Salazar, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Dell Medical School
Raji Srinivasan, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, McCombs School of Business
Richard J. Reddick, Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement, and Outreach, College of Education
Skyller Walkes, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, College of Pharmacy
John Yancey, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, College of Fine Arts