June 4, 2020

Dear Westminster Community,

In my short time at Westminster, there have now been multiple times that our campus is impacted by national events of blatant racism, hate crimes, and the continued murder of Black folx at the hands of police. It is exhausting. It is exhausting as a person, as a professional, but more importantly, as someone who is in community with Black students and colleagues who are deeply impacted by the ongoing murders of Black folx at the hands of police.

We need a world in where saying Black Lives Matter is not met with challenge, push back, and superficial acceptance. A world in where the solidarity of our communities is the hammer that makes visible the tactics of White Supremacy and we fight back – and that we win. That work starts here on our campus.

In these moments of social political unrest, I want our students to know that the SDI team is here for you. Like you, we are also angry and frustrated at what we see. We also understand that our role as members of this campus community to participate, facilitate, and lead conversations of justice through our shared institutional mission and personal commitment to justice everywhere. Know we will continue to do our work so that students, staff, and faculty can continue of this journey of social equity and justice.

To our Black, African, and African American students and colleagues, we see you. We are sorry for the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Brittany Irwin and countless others that continue to be killed. We are sorry that once again you are living through the emotional toll and heartbreak of seeing another member of your community murdered by police. We know that witnessing these murders time and time again is stress on your mental health and person-hood. Know that we feel with you and are in solidarity with you.

To the students, colleagues, partners, and allies in our campus community, we also recognize that these murders and social unrest impacts how you support, understand, exist, and are in community at Westminster. Know that we also see you and are with you.

President Dobkin and Dr. Stevenson both put out powerful messages. We agree with them. We see the work of SDIC as a place to realize the passion and purpose of their messages by creating spaces for healing, discussion, and action. Our focus will be twofold: spaces where Black folx can heal and spaces where we can all work together. The ongoing trauma of seeing Black people murdered requires that our Black, African, and African American students and colleagues have a space where they can exist with each other - a space for them. We also need for space where all members of our Westminster community can learn, discuss, and lead in action.

We hope you had a chance to attend today’s teachable moment conversation, “Social Unrest in a Global Pandemic,” hosted by our Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Tamara Stevenson, with Westminster faculty experts in public health, philosophy, and trauma and restorative justice. Ongoing conversations are still needed. Therefore, the Student Diversity and Inclusion Center and the Diversity and Inclusion Office will offer the following opportunities for June and July.

Black Only Space: Healing and Community for Black Students and Colleagues
If you are interested in attending, please email dancairo@westminsteru.edu with the subject line “Attendance”.

Working Through Guilt and Privilege
Facilitated by: Dr. Molly Butterworth and Dr. Chris Davids
Dates: June 10, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

No Longer Business as Usual: What does solidarity, anti-racist, and student support mean in this moment?
Facilitated by: Dr. Karnell McConnell-Black and Dr. Daniel K. Cairo
Date: June 24, noon

Check your email for login information for both events.

Please note that depending on the feedback of the conversations, we are open to adding more discussions for the remainder of July.

Student Diversity and Inclusion Center
Kari Lindsey and Daniel K. Cairo

View all SDIC events