Message from Dean of Campus Life Enku Gelaye
June 5, 2020
Campus Life Colleagues,
Sharing the pain, grief, and rage of so many of our neighbors around the country, we find ourselves in an all-too-familiar place as we struggle with centuries-old issues of racial and social injustice. These issues speak to who we are as a nation, what we aspire to be, and why some members of our society have been denied basic human and civil rights for so long.
The tragic death of Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery recalls our nation’s bitter legacy of brutality toward Black people and other marginalized communities. We speak the names of Ahmaud, Breonna Taylor, and now George Floyd – names on a list of thousands of human beings violently killed for being Black. We also speak Christian Cooper’s name and recognize the ways in which systemic racism and racist hostility lead to unjustified deaths.
For months, we have grappled with the magnitude of COVID-19's disproportionate impact on people with low incomes, underlying conditions, and inadequate health insurance, including our Black, Latinx, Asian and Native American neighbors. Now, we grieve and remember Ahmaud, Breonna and George.
As members of the Emory community, let us underscore our will to effect change and our solidarity with the families mourning their loved ones. Individually and together, it is important to commit to self-awareness, education, compassion, and an understanding of how these injustices continue to undermine community wellness and our important work of creating equitable learning and working spaces for all students and staff.
Our journey ahead will continue to be challenging, but let us recall the words of Bryan Stevenson in his commencement address to Emory.
"Hope is a powerful force. Hope will sometimes make you stand up, even when people say, 'Sit down.' It will make you speak, even when people say, 'Be quiet,’” he reminded us. “I am persuaded today that we shall overcome, despite the complexity and challenges of the moment.”
I invite you to join me and other members of our university community in a virtual vigil in remembrance of Ahmaud and other victims of racial violence. To register, visit https://bit.ly/ArberyVigil.
Dean of Campus Life