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A message in follow up to the Derek Chauvin trial verdict

Thursday, 04/22/2021

TO: UMSI Students, Staff and Faculty
FROM: Judy Schabel, Devon Keen, Tom Finholt

In addition to the message from Chief Diversity Officer Sellers, we wanted to communicate directly with the UMSI community following what was an emotional and critical moment of accountability, that being Tuesday’s guilty verdict on each of the three counts against Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd

Despite Tuesday’s verdict, the overall struggle remains. The verdict does not undo the tragedy of George Floyd's death and the impact on his family, his community, and the world. We know that the criminal justice system is historically racist, and that in many other cases over decades and centuries, justice has not been served. 

Even as the George Floyd trial was underway, we saw the police killings of Adam Toledo in Chicago and Daunte Wright near Minneapolis. On the day of the verdict, 15-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio. We deeply mourn these deaths. To learn more about the historical pattern and impact of policing and police brutality on African-Americans and all communities of color, we refer you to this Coursera course

It’s been an emotional and challenging year marked by traumatic events, and we know many feel understandably exhausted on multiple levels. Please continue to take care of yourself and one another. To that end, we want to make you aware of an opportunity to process the impact of the verdict with others. 

Organizational Learning, Office of Health Equity & Inclusion (OHEI) and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) have collaborated to offer Community Listening Circles for the U-M community to come together to process the verdict and its impact. There are sessions available tomorrow (Friday) and Monday. If you are interested in attending one of the sessions you can register here

The UMSI DEI Committee’s community reflection yesterday and additional sessions that will be organized soon -- to reflect on the past year and discuss our priorities going forward -- are active ways we can come together in support of becoming an anti-racist school.  

Judy, Devon and Tom