As I reflect over my first year as Dean’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, what stands out to me are the number of statements I wrote in response to tragedies caused by acts of violence towards racialized and minoritized populations; or acts of injustices that occurred on our college campus, in our state, and across our nation. And these acts of violence and injustice continue to occur – whether it’s the current violence occurring in Palestine, or the recent release of body cam footage showing the death of Ronald Greene at the hands of Louisiana police, or the recent act of racial injustice on our very own campus with Nikole Hannah-Jones.

I am also aware that we, as a school, are not on the same page when it comes to issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But I do hope that we are all in agreement in combating all forms of hatred and oppression (racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, classism, xenophobia, religious intolerance), and how they exist in Peabody Hall and across our campus. How can we call ourselves a flagship university and a leader in education if we ourselves continue to engage in oppressive actions ourselves, whether overtly or covertly?

As the summer begins, I hope each and every one of you get some time to relax and rejuvenate. I also hope you take some time to truly consider the role of white supremacy and privilege and how they exist in our school; and I invite ALL of you to engage with me during the next school year in addressing these issues that exist in our school.

In the meantime, I want to point out that tomorrow, May 25th is the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. At noon, the Bell Tower will ring an additional nine times in recognition of his final trauma. The University Office for Diversity and Inclusion invites us all to take 9 minutes and 29 seconds at that time to reflect in silence on the violence inflicted upon and pain suffered by African American and Black people in the U.S., how our country has responded and changed over the past year, and how we can each improve our understanding, relationships and support of the BIPOC community both at Carolina and beyond. Additionally, we are all invited to attend the final event of the Culture of Care series, Care in the Midst of Chaos, at 4 p.m. Dr. Charla Blumell, Dean Suzie Baker and a panel of UNC professionals will share their perspectives on how they have supported our students during this difficult year.

Finally, tomorrow evening at 7:30 pm, WRAL will air “The Skin We’re In,” which takes a personal look at BIPOC who have experienced racial discrimination first-hand. Our very own alum, Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock and her family were interviewed for this documentary. I urge you to watch it. Watch the trailer here.