President Yager Addresses Racial Violence in Wisconsin
Sent Aug. 26, 2020, to students, faculty and staff
Dear students, faculty and staff:
Earlier this week, we prepared to send an announcement and call for applicants for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Fellows program. Though I am proud of the initiative, I am so appalled by the recent shooting of Jacob Blake that I must address this recent deplorable event today.
On Sunday night, Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was brutally shot in the back seven times by the Kenosha police in Wisconsin, while his three year old, five year old and eight year old children were in the back of his car looking on—a heinous attempt on yet another Black man’s life and irreparable traumatization of his children. This act of police brutality is a despicable, stark and completely unjust addition to the countless number of murders and violence suffered by the Black community in our country. As I wrote to you back in May, there is nothing acceptable about the continued atrocities and countless lives that continue to be lost and afflicted by racism, bigotry and hatred that exists within our society.
As an individual, I am disgusted by these atrocities and the lack of conversation in our current government to take action to stop this violence against Black people. Black Lives Matter. Please get out and vote.
Now more than ever, we must come together and partner to do all we can to influence our world and nation to change. We must learn from one another. We must hear Black experiences, reflect on how we benefit from systemic racism if we are not Black, and learn how to be true partners, and show in our actions how to be better. Let’s strengthen UArts and use our influence to be an example as an institution to affect lasting change both within our community; at other, similar institutions; and beyond.
Tomorrow, I will send my originally planned announcement that calls for DEI Student Fellow applicants. The fellows, which will be compensated positions, have a very important role to play in our collective work ahead. Indeed, the creation of the fellows program is one of many forthcoming updates regarding the anti-racism initiatives that we continue to enact at UArts.
But today and again, my heart swells for all the victims of racial injustice and violence.
With extreme sadness,