The latest horrific incidents of violence against African Americans by law enforcement have reminded us, once more, of the brutal truth of deep-seated inequality in our society, and its consequences for African Americans and Americans of African descent. Along with healthcare and socioeconomic disparities as starkly exposed by the current pandemic, the cradle to prison pipeline and voter suppression are just some of the many inequalities faced by people of color in the U.S. National crises like these put a spotlight on them for all to see. Yet, between these periods of major press coverage and protests, these problems continue to pervade every aspect of our society and our institutions. We must confront systemic racism and white supremacy. I condemn the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. These needless deaths, like so many before, are deeply traumatizing for the victims’ families and communities, and indeed for all of us.

At this moment, many of us are seeking constructive outlets for peaceful protest and positive action. We also need time and space to recover balance and regain a semblance of spiritual calm. At times we may seek solitude, and at other times we may seek a community with which to share the pain and range of emotions that we are going through. Over the coming weeks, there will be a number of events for staff, students, and faculty that will focus on the major issues that confront us (visit the Office of Diversity & Inclusion website for more information). As we find a way to navigate through this tumultuous time, I urge us to continue to support each other and not let these tragic events become a fading memory. Instead, I hope they will deepen our commitment, as staff, scholars, and educators, to use our tools and training to document the facts and ask the tough questions to address the underlying injustices and inequalities.

Stan Sclaroff
Dean of Arts & Sciences
Boston University