April 20, 2021
Today’s guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd has brought some measure of justice for a horrible crime. Yet, it does not erase the trauma and pain felt by communities of color and the frustration felt by many of us at the injustice done. For too many and for too long, calls for justice have gone unanswered while race-based violence and systemic racism continues.
Last year, the death of George Floyd—in the wake of other Black and Brown lives lost—resulted in a more critical and deeper look and personal introspection on how structural racism leads to racial inequities and in some cases, fatal outcomes. Most recently, we have seen countless acts of race-based attacks against our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities.
I know that this trial and other examples of violence and hate have had a deep impact on our community. Exhaustion in a seemingly endless struggle. Anger at the injustice all around. Personal fear and fatigue. Unsettling questions.
In these times, it is important we find ways to care for and fulfill ourselves, whether connecting and engaging with others, seeking opportunities to learn more, or becoming civically engaged. Our university offers a number of opportunities, places of support, and educational resources.
Opportunities for engagement:
- Dish It Up – Offered each Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m., Dish It Up provides a safe and engaging space for the university community to share personal views and engage in civil discussions concerning current events.
- Chancellor’s Diversity Commissions – Students, faculty and staff looking to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion work are encouraged to get involved in the commissions. Applications are open through June 15, 2021.
- How to Protest Safely – The right to peacefully assemble is fundamental. The Office of Student Affairs has developed a document for tips on how to do so safely.
For support and safety:
- Counseling and Psychological Services – If you need help processing or discussing your feelings about what is going on in your life or the world around you, individual counseling or group counseling is available
- Employee Assistance Program – EAP is a confidential service that offers counseling and consultation to employees and family members related to personal and professional wellbeing at no cost to the employee.
- Racial equity resources – The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) has large array of resources available coordinated by ODI, our academic colleges, university libraries collaborating units and other key groups.
- Advocating for Inclusion, Respect, and Equity (AFIRE) – Housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS), this collective promotes inclusion, respect, and equity for faculty, staff and students in CEHS and for the greater campus through advocacy, programs, and education.
At UNL, we have made a commitment to change and are continually framing our journey toward anti-racism and racial equity. While this work will take time, it will call for each of us, wherever we find ourselves in this journey, to commit to genuinely listening, learning and taking meaningful steps toward a more just and equitable society.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.