After verdict, much work to do

Mariette DiChristina
April 21, 2021
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After verdict, much work to do

Dear COM Community,

Yesterday, Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty by the jury of the charges of manslaughter, second-degree murder, and third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd. While many of us felt a sense of relief at the verdict, we remain keenly and painfully aware that far too many injustices remain and there is much work to do. We communicators, as I wrote in my letter to the community last June, have a special responsibility in fostering meaningful conversations that will help build understanding across our towns, cities, states, and nation.

Toward that end, I’d like to share some of the ways to engage. BU Diversity & Inclusion has compiled a wonderful list of events and resources, including Healing Space for Community Reflection on Thursday, April 22, at 4 pm, and a panel discussion on “Unpacking the Chauvin Trial: Police Accountability in America,” on Friday, April 23, at noon. You can request the terrific BU Diversity & Inclusion newsletter at

COM’s very active DEI Committee, under the leadership of Professor Michelle Sullivan, our Associate Dean for DEI, and staffed by the amazing Ermolande Jean-Simon, also organizes monthly panel discussions on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of our COMtalks virtual event series. All are welcome. You can see past events here and our calendar of upcoming events here.

COM DIRECT (Diversity & Inclusion Representatives Empowering COM Together), formerly the COM DEI Student Group, works to empower students, promote diversity and inclusion, and foster community and connection. Under the leadership of Mira Dhakal, they’ve recently created the “DIRECTly to the Point” conversation series, among other activities. Find them on Instagram @com_direct and

Throughout the year, I’ve also worked with the COM Student Government for conversations with students around themes including, recently, discussions on racism and student protests in the “Cheers and a Chat with the Dean.” I recognize that, especially for students, the ongoing challenges of racism and injustice are draining, however. If you’d like to take a break with a lighter conversation, today’s “Cheers and a Chat,” at 11 am, is on the theme of a look back at the past year, and a look ahead.

In response to the trial, Rashad Robinson, president of the civil rights group Color for Change, was quoted in the New York Times: “We will forever look back at this moment in American history. George Floyd’s death created new energy around making changes, though it’s not clear how lasting they will be.” Working together, and embracing communication in all of its forms to build understanding, I believe we can continue an enduring effort to create a better world.

As always, we at COM are eager for your feedback and ideas:

Mariette DiChristina, Dean
BU College of Communication