A message from the the office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
Again, we find ourselves in a time of reckoning and processing of perspectives and feelings related to the loss of life and the pursuit of justice, with one verdict in last Friday and another on the way.
By now, we are all aware that the Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges in the killing of two men and the wounding of another during the racial and social unrest in Kenosha during summer 2020. After the verdict was read, there was outrage for some and celebration for others, as our country remains divided over racial bias in the justice system, leading to several protests that took place Friday evening in New York, Chicago, Portland, Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles.
And, now, we wait on yet another verdict for the three men (Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William Bryan) charged with murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment for the February 23, 2020, fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery outside Brunswick, Georgia. The closing arguments are currently underway, with much of the nation anxiously waiting to see if justice will prevail.
Unfortunately, this trial brings forth feelings from Mr. Arbery’s murder, Trayvon Martin, and the many other Black unarmed men killed at the hands of private citizens or the police. Like I stated during the time of the Chauvin murder trial for the killing of George Floyd, many have already decided a personal verdict, and no matter what side you are on, know we are all affected.
In the justice that does or does not come;
In the continued systemic racism that has plagued and continues in our society;
In our human desire to belong and matter, regardless of our identities;
In our need for the pain and hurt of injustice to end.
As a community of care, I am asking us to be communal, check-in with one another, to listen, to see and be supportive. Seek professional counseling assistance through CPPD or employee resources, as needed. We should evaluate how we can impact change in our society through our own actions, working toward the goals of equity, inclusion and belonging. And, this should be constant, not just as a response to unjust events.
Ultimately, we have a responsibility to live and employ our values of education, care and service to our immediate and broader communities. We may be hurting as a community and a nation, and no matter the verdict of this trial, we will not stop seeking justice and a change in behavior.
Waiting and Working for Justice,
Juliana (Dr. J)
Special Assistant to the President for DEI