April 20, 2021
Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
Moments ago, the jury for the trial of Derek Chauvin rendered its verdict, finding him guilty on all three charges for the killing of George Floyd. While this trial may have been brought to closure, the pain and suffering unleashed by the killing of George Floyd will not be so easily ended. We know many of you are likely feeling a range of emotions right now, as we are, about all that has transpired in the past year. We are writing to let you know about resources that are available to you and to offer our support.
Above all, we want to state unequivocally and without reservation:
Connecticut College affirms that Black lives matter.
While the verdict today may indicate a movement forward, there is much more to be done to address the anti-Black racism embedded in policing and the U.S. justice system. All lives will not matter unless and until Black people across the African diaspora are treated with the full respect and dignity accorded by their humanity.
Our work continues.
The College will not change its commitment to anti-racist education and practice and we are actively working toward our goals in these areas. While we have made progress, our efforts are ongoing and we seek your continued support.
Self-care is paramount.
It is essential in this moment to take extra care of ourselves and others. This can include taking breaks from the news and social media, eating well, getting exercise and rest. Now is an excellent time to engage in personal mindfulness practices, like spending more time in nature, praying, or meditating.
Community care is also a top priority.
We ask you to be especially attuned to how your words and actions are affecting others and to make every effort to support friends, peers, and colleagues during this time. Use this moment to practice empathy and active listening. And of course, avail yourselves of the many resources available to you, including counseling staff and chaplains for students, and Employee Assistance Program resources for faculty and staff.
At 7 p.m. tonight, the dean of institutional equity and inclusion will facilitate an in-person gathering on Larrabee Green for the Conn community to process this outcome and to create a space to stand together in solidarity.
On Thursday, the College chaplains will create space for reflection and solidarity in our regular PAUSE event via Zoom at 4:30 p.m. Later that evening, from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity will host a follow-up conversation, “What’s Left to Say About Police Brutality?” also via Zoom.
If you choose to gather with others on or off campus, we ask you to continue following safety precautions, particularly mask-wearing, to prevent contracting or spreading of COVID-19. If you choose to leave campus beyond New London county, please complete the travel registration form so that we are aware of your departure––the request will be approved.
Thank you and we wish you peace in the days ahead.
Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion