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June 1, 2020

President Neuhold-Ravikumar

Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd as we are saddened and sickened by his senseless death. The recurrence of this type of event in our society is a pandemic for which there is a known cure: education, peace and compassion.

The civil unrest in Minneapolis and throughout the nation is the symptom of a chronic illness lingering in our society. Whether it be the abuse of power or racism, this malaise is not confined to Minneapolis. Our fierce indignation at the unjust treatment of black people has atrophied across the country.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr. remain at the front of my mind as I contemplate America’s reaction to this loss of life. He told us “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” His words should not only haunt our souls but stir our bodies to action. We are united with our black and brown brothers and sisters by our humanity and must demonstrate our commitment to them and to being part of the solution.

We hear our fellow Americans telling us that they can’t breathe and we must be courageous and enter into their suffering with them. Irrespective of the physical distance between us, we can stand beside them. We can share their stories, write our council members, vote, volunteer, or overtly support civil rights groups.

Soon you will receive a message from the university’s Inclusive Community Advocate MeShawn Green detailing opportunities for engagement in the coming days and weeks. I implore you to join in the university’s efforts to foster an inclusive community that starts on our campus but is not bound by our campus borders.

While anger is a compassionate response, our actions must speak power through peace. May today be the beginning of reconciliation and respect for one another across our country.

Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar