Dear UVM Community Members,
As many of you are aware, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been on trial facing murder charges for the death of George Floyd. Yesterday marked the closing statements in the trial.
As we await a verdict, our attention and hearts are with Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Color who continue to experience the heartbreak and violence of systemic racism in our country and in our communities.
There is no way to give full honor to the victims of racial injustices, and this is why we continue to work for justice and equity. At UVM, we strive to be in solidarity with our BIPOC community, and believe that Black lives matter.
We understand that each of you will have unique needs as we navigate the potential and cumulative impact of this moment. What follows are some of the opportunities for learning, community support, and space for healing:
• In solidarity with the BIPOC community, the Student Government Association (SGA) has approved our request to raise the Black Lives Matter flag in front of the Davis Center this week, per the SGA’s flag protocol.
• Beginning Friday, the Interfaith Center will host an interactive art installation on the fourth floor of the Davis Center inviting people to share their hopes and concerns for racial justice in this moment.
• Counseling support is available for all students via Counseling and Psychiatry Services (CAPS) and through the identity centers on campus.
• Community gatherings to learn, be together, and process are being developed by campus partners, including the Center for Cultural Pluralism and Identity Centers.
As we continue to reflect, we want to highlight UVM's Our Common Ground:
"...we unite against all forms of injustice, including, but not limited to, racism. We reject bigotry, oppression, degradation, and harassment, and we challenge injustice toward any member of our community."
Racism is an ongoing problem rooted in a complex history, and it impacts us all. As you continue to reflect on what your role is within the work of equity, justice, and inclusion please know that as challenging as this work can feel, it is our responsibility to continue, together.
Erica Caloiero, Interim Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Sherwood Smith, Senior Executive Director for the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Jim Vigoreaux, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs