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Response to the Tragic Death of George Floyd

Dear Members of the Jackson School Community:

We are all feeling the pain and anger, the fear and frustration, the outrage and the grief that have poured out in response to the senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of the very community of public servants that is charged to protect us. The injustice of Mr. Floyd’s death and the racism that motivated it are deeply disturbing and follow on the heels of a long line of recent racially charged incidents that have taken the lives of black men and women, leaving families and communities grieving. These events lay bare and raw a deep wound in America’s heart and soul, a wound we have struggled to heal for our entire history, and which tests all of us to trust and hold hope in the common humanity that binds us together.

This moment of heartbreak and anger is superimposed on the disruption and difficulties brought by the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has shown our country’s economic and social inequalities in full relief, disproportionately impacting African American, Latinx, and Native American citizens.  It has ratcheted up economic uncertainty and fear for the future and exacerbates racial and social tensions. It is important for each of us to recognize the many pressures acting on us, and especially the difficult emotions that the African American members of our community now face. Bring extra patience, compassion, and empathy into all of your interactions with others.

One of the purposes of higher education is to make us citizens of the larger world. As geoscientists, we see the earth system without political and racial demarcation. We are able to appreciate its deep age, its vastness and variation. With this perspective, it is easy to recognize our common circumstances, our humanity. Now, more than ever, we must cling to and defend that humanity. We must stand together peacefully as a community, be purposely humane, affirm and demonstrate respect for each other, and care for each other.

Be good to each other.

With great respect and concern,

Dean Mora