Message from Chief Diversity Officer Carol E. Henderson, Dean of Campus Life Enku Gelaye and Dean of Religious Life Gregory McGonigle

April 21, 2021

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Dear Emory Community,

We find ourselves at another pivotal moment in our country’s history. In the year that has passed since George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, the entire nation—especially Black, Latinx, Asian, Native, and Indigenous people—have suffered under a triple hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic suffering it provoked, and continued acts of violence, many of them the result of police action.

The recent deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo add to the never-ending cycle of loss. Bearing witness is exhausting and emotionally draining, but it is necessary. As many in our Emory community have shared, processing the evidence about George Floyd’s murder retraumatized so many of us. The pain for the members of George Floyd’s family is almost incalculable, but it is shared. We all feel it.

And it is incumbent upon us to seek a broader environment of justice, which will come only after we find the ways—and will—to reimagine our system of law enforcement and to support all communities without prejudice.

One jury verdict has indeed been rendered. Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts. However, as Vice President Kamala Harris noted, “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.”

So, the hard work continues. There are many ways to be part of what can, and must, come next—the end of systemic oppression, economic and social injustice, and violence in all forms against marginalized communities who bear the brunt of these hateful acts. To assist with next steps, a resource guide is available.

This is a moment to call on our higher selves, to reflect on the values that Emory represents—the respect for diversity, the goal of equity—and to seek peaceful change, to walk together toward a vision of greater justice.

Let’s hold ourselves accountable for being the change we want to see in this world. To imagine an Emory that strives for eminence through its service to humanity—all of humanity. Let us honor the dignity in each other, creating space for healing and communal engagement through scholarship, teaching, and service that bends the arc of justice on our own campus toward the common good—where the “I” continues to be “we.”

We have the grace to achieve a shared vision of equity and inclusion. It begins with each of us. It begins today.

For the common good,

Carol E. Henderson
Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer and Advisor to the President

Enku Gelaye
Vice President and Dean of Campus Life

The Reverend Gregory McGonigle
Dean of Religious Life and University Chaplain
Office of the President