This afternoon a jury in Minneapolis found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges in the murder of George Floyd.
George Floyd was only one victim among countless other black and brown Americans who have tragically and violently lost their lives. His murder sparked one of the most recent powerful movements for social justice in our nation’s history; it became an emotional and powerful call to action, including here on our campus. I am proud of how our students, faculty, and staff came together to peacefully exercise their voices and pledged themselves to deconstructing systems that perpetuate injustice and harm to marginalized people and communities—actions that are at the heart of what it means to be antiracist.
While I am relieved with the jury’s verdict this afternoon, I am deeply saddened that no verdict can bring back the people of color we have lost, including George Floyd, who have tragically been killed through senseless acts of violence.
The University of Northern Colorado’s leadership stands with those who use their voice to speak out and peacefully demonstrate against systemic injustice. We pledge to work within our own sphere of influence to address systemic oppression, discrimination, and racism in our community. When events such as this occur, we are also committed to bringing our community together not just to grieve, but to identify what steps we will take to heal, grow, and empower one another. This evening (Tuesday, April 20), the University will host a Bears in Solidarity community gathering for our students, faculty, and staff in Bank of Colorado Arena. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. and the program will begin at 7:30 p.m.
I know from dialogue with my colleagues and peers of color that incidents like this are part of a persistent, daily struggle that is compounded by each new tragedy. The trauma captured in the nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds that resulted in the death of George Floyd are felt by people who are part of marginalized communities near to home and across our nation every day. The daily injustices and fear experienced by members of our own community tax them emotionally and physically, and contribute to exhaustion and hurt.
We have to continue to strive to build an equitable and inclusive community that not only creates space to grieve when violence occurs, but challenges us to act to support every one of our fellow Bears and our neighbors. I stand in solidarity with members of our community who I am certain are feeling a wide range of emotions today. This is yet another reminder to please be kind to one another and support each other.
Rowing, Not Drifting,