Communicators must play a critical role going forward

Mariette DiChristina

Dear members of the COM community,

Sometimes, even for us professional communicators, words are difficult. The tragic, unacceptable deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are just the latest, horrible reminders of widespread and longstanding racism and injustice in this country. It’s been difficult to process. Like many of you, I have been crying. I have felt angry. And I have felt ashamed. We should be better than this in America. We must be better than this. Racism must end.

As protestors have exercised their First Amendment rights to free speech, it’s also been painful to watch as journalists, exercising the Constitutionally mandated rights of a free and independent press to serve their communities by reporting the truth, have been attacked and arrested. Uglier still, seeing that African American journalists are, again, suffering unequally in being harassed and arrested.

We communicators—both longtime professionals and the students who will be the leaders of tomorrow—must play a critical role going forward. We provide information that helps people to understand what is transpiring. We must share insights and perspectives that help build knowledge. We must encourage people to participate in the election process to bring about the reforms they want to see. The understanding we can create through our communication disciplines can help us move forward together to fight racism and oppression and bring equality and justice for all.

We will soon come together as a COM community to share perspectives on these critical issues through a series of discussions. We will follow up with details shortly, as well as resources for our communities. COM students can email if they have any suggestions or ways that we can bring the community together. In the meantime, I hope each of you can do what you can to find some peace, and please take care of yourselves.

Dean Mariette DiChristina
College of Communication
Boston University