To my Michigan Engineering community:
The tragic deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky make us realize that it is past time to stop and reflect upon the racial inequities that still exist in society. More importantly, it is past time for us all to take concrete action to help correct them.
This impacts all of us, including our community here at Michigan Engineering. I spoke recently to a colleague. She worries about the future of her child, growing up as a Black man in our country. She worries about the overt and covert racism that persists in our society. Would you disagree with her, given the current events?
Her story is representative of millions of our fellow Americans. As scientists and engineers at a premiere institution, we are in a position of privilege and have the power and influence to be part of the solution.
The current situation gives deeper meaning, and strengthens our resolve in our diversity, equity and inclusion values and efforts. Inequities are obvious in the 2018 study cited by U-M President Mark Schlissel that found “the risk of being killed by police, relative to White men, is between 3.2 and 3.5 times higher for Black men.” They are also obvious in the disproportionate rates of African Americans experiencing COVID-19 infections and deaths.
We cannot remain silent: Black Lives Matter! Our community is united in support and grieving with our Black colleagues, students, and friends. To provide space for discussion on this topic, our DEI Student Advisory Board will be hosting a virtual “EnginTalks: The Unsilenced Voices of 2020” on Tuesday, June 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. I hope you will join us for this important discussion.
And know that, if you are struggling to deal with difficult emotions, you are not alone. Engineering students can receive support through the Michigan Engineering CARE Center or U-M Counseling and Psychological Services. All faculty and staff can access services through the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office.
If you have a concern about our own campus culture, please do not hesitate to speak up and report it to the Campus Climate Support staff.
Working together, we can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. Our society, just like our College, will never be its best unless we create a safe and fair place for all. This belief is central to our College values. If you are wondering how you as an individual can educate yourself and engage in conversations with both allies and detractors, here are some steps that we can all take in the fight against racism.
I hope you will join us in this important work.