Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,
As our community continues to reflect on yesterday’s conviction of Derek Chauvin on all counts in the murder of George Floyd, gratitude for a just verdict mixes with renewed profound sorrow and sympathy for Mr. Floyd’s family for their loss, renewed realization of how difficult the work is that remains ahead of us to dismantle structural racism, and renewed resolve to march on together to achieve systemic justice and equity. As President Holloway, my colleague chancellors, and I suggested in our joint message yesterday, now is a time to leverage our resources collaboratively to effect the structural changes we need in our communities, state, nation, and world.
For Rutgers-Newark, as an anchor institution that in word and deed is in and of our community, this means first and foremost supporting one another—students, faculty, staff, community members, community partners. It also means committing ourselves even more deeply to collective public problem solving, grappling with the great challenges we face locally, which instantiate the great challenges faced globally.
The pandemic has taken a mighty and disproportionately large toll on our community, but that has made it all the more obvious that the work we are doing with our partners across Newark is all the more important to dismantling structural racism and inequity—whether we are taking collective action on public safety, striving for equitable growth, concentrating the effort of anchor institutions to accelerate Newark’s rise, broadening our community’s pathways to college, leveraging the arts to catalyze social change, or exploring what reparations could look like in a community like ours.
Whether or not yesterday’s verdict really has made today a new day is up to us. Let us march forward together and make it so.