George Floyd & Standing in Support of Black Lives
Dear SEAS and PitE Community,
Just moments ago, we learned about the guilty verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd. Today, we finally saw justice served, but it does not end here. While today’s verdict is a step towards justice, it doesn’t change the fact that a Black life, and countless others, have been taken too soon by police violence. We continue to be horrified and outraged by these acts of racist violence driven by white privilege and a system rooted in white supremacy. Our hearts are with the family and friends of George Floyd today, and all who have experienced any form of police brutality or discrimination.
Today’s verdict doesn’t change the countless other cases where justice hasn’t been served. It doesn’t change the fact that violence, trauma, and discrimination continue to be perpetrated against the Black community every single day. It doesn’t change the fact that the current methods of policing in this country are deeply broken and discriminatory. It doesn’t change the fact that our policing system is not only flawed, but it is designed and structured to perpetuate and enact violence on BIPOC lives. It doesn't change that it took significant pressure, innumerable protests, and exhaustive efforts from the Black community to get this system to take a step towards justice. It doesn’t change the feelings of exhaustion, sadness, and outrage that many of us are still feeling right now. And, it doesn’t change our demands for lasting, systemic change.
To our community, we continue to express our unwavering support. Today, we double down on our calls for justice and reform. We are committed as an institution to do more to dismantle white supremacy and institutional racism. At SEAS, we are strengthening our DEI and anti-racism efforts through the Equity and Justice Initiative. We’re making progress on the two new DEI staff hires and Graduate Student Staff Assistantship (GSSA) position, and have formed hiring committees that include student, faculty, and staff representatives. We hope to have these DEI positions fully staffed by the end of May/early June in preparation for the new academic year. We’re also continuing our anti-racist pedagogies training for faculty, following the one we had last Wednesday, and are working to develop it in-house so it will be situated within SEAS and contribute to lasting systemic changes. We also understand that each of us will act on changes in different ways. We would like to highlight these anti-racism resources from Rackham and this anti-racism working resources document from SEAS Student Government, which we encourage everyone to take a look at. Here are some further steps towards understanding and dismantling implicit bias, eliminating coded language, incorporating anti-racist pedagogies into the curriculum, or learning about how to be a better ally.
To those in the Black community, we see you, we support you, we stand with you. To allies, now more than ever, we must show up and do the work, to be anti-racist and to play an active part of this justice movement to dismantle systemic racism.
In the coming days, the Office of Academic Programs will work to create spaces for members of the SEAS community to come together and to continue processing and healing from the outcome of the trial and the preceding events. If you would like to connect with an OAP staff member individually, please reach out to Jake Davidson (email@example.com).
2021-2022 SEAS Student Government
SEAS Leadership Team
SEAS DEI Office
Jonathan T. Overpeck
Samuel A. Graham Dean and William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor of Environmental Education
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, SEAS
Professor of Environmental Education & Communication
Associate Dean for Research and Engagement
Professor of Environment and Sustainability
Director of Academic Programs
Jake F.L. Davidson
Director of Communications and Outreach
Program Manager Environmental Fellows Program