Support and Care in Times of Racial Injustice
Dear Northwestern Students,
The world is a heavy place. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor; the discrimination that targeted Christian Cooper; and the injustices that followed have been devastating to many communities, most especially communities of color. This anti-Black violence — the latest in a series that has spanned centuries — is a clear example of continued racial injustice in our world. In addition to navigating the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on marginalized communities, we again witness more of this country’s horrific racial realities on full display. As I hear the stories of struggle, exhaustion, fear and pain from our students, my heart breaks. I find myself as many do — searching for the right words.
Our community has come together with expressions of concern, support, solidarity and advocacy. President Schapiro and Dean Whitaker shared individual statements on Friday. Our Muslim students came together that evening to offer prayers of solidarity. Mayfest’s Dillo Day charity in part will support the Minnesota Freedom Fund to help pay bail and immigration bonds for those who cannot afford to do so. For Members Only (FMO) offered a moment of silence and Black student community messaging during Dillo Day. Staff, faculty and students have come together individually and collectively to support and process, including participating in protests across the country. Still others have cared for themselves, their families and their friends during this time. Each of these actions demonstrates care and compassion, and each inspires hope. Yet, there is more that must be done.
As your Vice President for Student Affairs, it is my purpose to work toward the creation of a truly inclusive Northwestern in a way that honors the experiences and stories of those most impacted by racial injustice. As a White-identifying woman of significant unearned privilege, I am keenly aware of my responsibility to move beyond performative words of support, do my own work to both learn and unlearn, and move into advocacy and action. In addition to continuing with works in progress, I am committed to hearing directly from you.
To that end, I will be contacting student leaders of graduate and undergraduate student organizations, asking for meetings when they are ready in order to hear their perspectives on what they need to see from Northwestern. I have established Zoom office hours over the next few weeks for individual students to connect directly with me to share their points of view. You can sign up for a time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For students who do not wish to talk and would rather share their thoughts in writing, please send them to me at that same address. I will read them all. I want to hear from as many students as possible in a time when it is absolutely critical to do so.
I also know that you may find yourself experiencing individual trauma or pain, and I want you to know there are places you can turn to for help. In this time when we are physically distant, our resources are still here, but perhaps may look a little different.
- Our Counseling and Psychological Services(CAPS) team is available via tele-mental health,
- Religious and Spiritual Life(RSL) hosts individual pastoral care appointments and programs to help,
- Our Dean of Studentsteam is here to assist you with support and connection to resources,
- Residential Servicesstaff are available to talk and help, and
- Our Campus Inclusion and Communityteam is here to offer space for care and support.
No matter where you are right now, know that you are not alone. Please reach out for help should you need to. In times like these, coming together, educating ourselves and listening to and supporting each other is one path by which we can find our way. We will no doubt discover more.
Please take care of yourselves and each other, and as you can, take comfort from your Northwestern community.