Standing together in the fight for justice
The recent incidents of racism, violence and killing of Black citizens in our country are a stark reminder of how we must rid deeply-rooted bigotry and injustices from our society. I am horrified by these senseless killings and—as I said in my statement over the weekend—I find myself feeling deeply frustrated by the lack of progress made by our country since civil rights activists fought for equal rights 56 years ago. The impact of COVID-19 on communities of color is yet another heart wrenching example of the reality of ongoing national systemic inequities.
We cannot let the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor go unnoticed or unaddressed. Nor can we ignore the countless other Black people and other people of color who have lost their lives to senseless acts of violence. We must call out and condemn these racist acts, stand together in the fight for justice, speak out and enact change. On behalf of UTSA’s entire leadership team I want to convey to Black students, faculty and staff in the Roadrunner community that we see you and we will continue to fight alongside you. Black Lives Matter.
I believe public research universities have a responsibility to be at the forefront of change for our country. I believe we can serve as models for diversity, equity and inclusion. I believe we are all born with the same potential, but not given the same opportunities. I believe education is a great equalizer and has the power to change lives and create a more just and equitable society. I believe we have an obligation to ensure that Black students and other underrepresented students feel welcome in our inclusive community, experience a powerful educational journey and graduate prepared to change the world.
We have our own work to do to be exemplary in building an environment of inclusive excellence on our campus. Much work has been done on this front in the last year and much more is planned, including upcoming trainings this August on addressing racial bias, anti-racist efforts and microagressions. We recognize the need for continued conversations around policing, building on Fair and Impartial Policing training implemented by our UTSA PD last year. I hold myself—and UTSA’s entire leadership team—accountable for continuing to move beyond acknowledging the issues and to provide spaces for our community to fight for justice in effective ways.
Tomorrow’s community gathering hosted by the Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice is an opportunity to support our grieving and angry community. For any of you who may need additional support, please reach out:
- For students, UTSA Counseling and Mental Health Services offers same-day or next day phone and video counseling sessions.
- For faculty and staff, counseling services are available through the Employee Assistance Program.
I encourage all of you—the entire Roadrunner community—to take time to process, take care of one another and take action to move our nation forward.