Dear GSE Faculty and Staff,
We write to you at a time of deep despair and concern. Like you, we are reeling from the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. The Graduate School of Education is steadfast in its belief in equality and justice. We are committed to helping create a society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
Recent events have painted in bold relief the undeniable fact that systemic racism exists and thrives in our country. As educators, researchers, and members of an academic community, we must use our platforms to forcefully and unequivocally take a stand against this and any other injustice.
We want you to know that we are aware of the extreme pain that individuals and communities (within and outside of GSE) are experiencing due to the recent, but not new or rare, killings of Black individuals targeted by either police or societal violence. And these are just some of the names of those murdered since COVID erupted in mid-March. The outrage, frustration, and despair are being expressed in many different ways, some violent, many not, but everywhere individuals and communities are looking for ways to express their pain. And of course, added to all that is the realization that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color.
Taking the time to create a space for individuals to be heard and supported is essential to the well-being of our GSE community and the work we are all committed to doing. We must all lift up our voices in unison to say that Black lives matter. Yet, we must also acknowledge that the reality of violence against Black individuals and other people of color in the United States doesn’t affect us all the same. This trauma is not new for people of color and for many who are white, it has led to a reckoning with the reality of racism and the need for action. And it is time, actually past time, for us to consider how we as individuals, faculty and staff, can participate, educate, model, and advocate for social justice actions both within GSE and the broader Buffalo community.
Suzanne Rosenblith, PhD
Dean and Professor
Raechele Pope, EdD
Associate Dean for Faculty and Student Affairs, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Professor