University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Reflecting on the events in Minneapolis and beyond

May 30, 2020 11:19 AM

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,

We, along with so many, are struggling to fully comprehend the systemic violence and the actions of members of the Minneapolis Police Department that resulted in the death of George Floyd this week. This is the home of one of the members of our Big Ten university family and our thoughts are with our colleagues and the broader Minneapolis-St. Paul community today.

And while George Floyd is who we see and mourn this week, we have also witnessed the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor this spring.

We stand in the middle of a global health crisis that will claim hundreds of thousands of lives and burden millions of others for a generation to come. These are days when the health of our communities depends entirely on our collective commitment to care for one another. This is when we most need to come together.

It is painful to watch streets filled with more anger and more violence sparked by divisive sources of hatred that our nation seems unable to set aside even when we are all threatened by this virus that does not discriminate in choosing who it harms.

For some of us, this is very, very personal. But the grief, sadness and loss is profound and universal.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a community committed to the scholarship, engagement, equity, inclusion and leadership that dismantles systems that utilize power, privilege and violence to disenfranchise, diminish and destroy.

And unfortunately, this same pandemic that has disrupted so much, also prevents us from coming together physically here at Illinois. We are not able to help each other process what we are seeing and what we are feeling in the way we would wish. So, today, when we cannot raise our voices together, we want to share this message in the hope that it will remind everyone that we do not have to remain silent alone.  

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. We can say their names and we can help ensure that they are not allowed to be forgotten.  


Robert J. Jones

Barry Benson
Vice Chancellor for Advancement

Andreas C. Cangellaris
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

Sean C. Garrick
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Susan A. Martinis
Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Danita M. B. Young
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs