Last May, we all witnessed the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin. Today’s decision is a monumental step that can now allow our country to move forward together, creating not only understanding but solutions.
Though his life cannot be brought back, justice is a fundamental part of our nation and an expectation we should all be afforded. We hope Mr. Floyd’s life and death will continue to shed light on a theme that is unfortunately all too common and has been for way too long.
We believe that we can work together to end this intolerance, hatred and divisiveness that each of us has personally experienced in our lives. And we know educational institutions like UNC Pembroke can lead the way. Since last May, UNCP administration, faculty, staff and student leaders have been engaged in productive conversations to determine how we can better serve our students and campus. Thoughtful and insightful discussions with your input yielded a number of positive steps, leading to the establishment of the UNCP Inclusion and Diversity Council.
In addition to the work of the Council, the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity, the Office of Human Resources and Police and Public Safety have actively identified ways to create an inclusive campus, raising awareness and giving every member of our campus community an opportunity to find their voice, share their lived experience and to be both heard and valued.
Today, I want to thank each of you for the individual efforts you’ve made over the past year to strengthen your own personal awareness and understanding. In classrooms, labs, residence halls and many places across campus, we have witnessed you reach out and engage with others who may not share the same perspective as you. That willingness to create a safe space for meaningful dialogue is what will build a bridge of understanding that leads to healing and progress.
Many of us are experiencing deep emotions with today’s verdict. While you may feel a sense of justice, it may not come without a profound sense of grief. If you need help or someone to talk to, we have resources available, and I urge you to reach out. Counseling and Psychological Services is available to provide support, and the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity has resources and programming for all students seeking deeper understanding and inclusivity.
There is much work yet to be done across the nation and on our campus. UNC Pembroke was established to provide an educational opportunity for a race that didn’t have that right, and we’re committed to ensuring our campus is one where everyone feels welcome, safe, included and supported.
To be the light our world needs, we must be able to come together in the light of education for all people, regardless of skin color, gender, sexual orientation or religion, to build a brighter, more hopeful future. And we will do just that by working together as one BraveNation family.
Robin Gary Cummings, MD Zoe Locklear, PhD Art Malloy, EdD
Chancellor Interim Provost Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs