Many of us are struggling, in profound ways, with recent tragic events. We condemn the actions that caused the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many, many more people of color across our country.

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said U.S. protests have underscored police violence at a time when the coronavirus is having a “devastating impact” on ethnic minorities worldwide.“

This virus is exposing endemic inequalities that have too long been ignored. In the United States, protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd are highlighting not only police violence against people of color, but also inequalities in health, education, employment, and endemic racial discrimination,” said Bachelet.

We must stand together at this time to support all members of our community and to continue our work to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our department, the university, and the world. As LSA Dean Anne Curzan stated, “We are united in our commitment to the anti-racism work that is integral to our success as a college, a community, and as a country. We will continue to push for and contribute to needed systemic change, including examining our own daily institutional practices and our culture.”

U-M Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers shared a heartfelt message about his experiences. Sellers stated, in part, that “… sharing optimism does not reside in a belief that America will simply change, it actually resides in the knowledge that each generation of African Americans has changed America for the better and a great faith that the next generation will take the next steps in changing America even more (even if it feels way too slow). This perspective has renewed my resolve to do all that I can to make whatever change I can.” 

“Many members of our community are experiencing this tragedy in ways that are inseparable from their race and ethnicity – and in ways that I will never be able to fully and personally realize,” President Schlissel said. During this difficult time, we urge anyone who needs support to access our university’s resources. Students can receive support through Counseling and Psychological Services; faculty and staff can access services through the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office.

The college will be organizing virtual events for the community to gather online, support one another, and discuss how we can engage collectively in structural change, both here and in the world. Some additional information and resources include Resources and Possible Actions, Support Black Lives & Protesters, discussing issues with U-M experts and the University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan.