Dear Bruin Community:
The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd has left many of us to revisit that heartbreaking killing of nearly one year ago. Doing so has been made even more difficult by the killing of Daunte Wright, another unarmed Black man shot by a police officer in Minnesota, and the video released of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy, being killed by police in Chicago.
While Chauvin’s conviction today brings some accountability for this terrible crime, we know this verdict does not resolve the deeper problems in our society that facilitated the occurrence of this murder and so many others. The devaluing of Black lives across generations laid the foundation for the horrifying injustice we saw when Floyd was killed in May of 2020. One verdict in one legal case will not prevent future injustices nor will it cure the damage done by centuries of racism.
As Bruins, we are committed to creating a world of justice and dignity for all. We must challenge the devaluation of Black, Brown, Native or Asian lives. This must be an urgent obligation and new normal for every person and every institution in our country.
UCLA will keep doing the work to meet that obligation. As a university, we must create opportunities to promote change through our scholarship, teaching, and service. The training we provide here shapes the leaders of tomorrow. I have asked administrative leaders to consider how they can support and enhance campus efforts by developing new ways to contribute to the university going forward — whether in the ways we fund campus organizations for their work or partnerships with students and staff for small research and demonstration projects to address campus climate. Additionally, I have asked campus leaders from Student Affairs, Human Resources, Residential Life and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion to organize resources and spaces where the Bruin community can come together to process and learn from this terrible episode and other recent events. You will hear more from them in the coming days.
UCLA remains committed to doing all we can to address inequity and create a community — and a country — where there is no doubt that Black lives matter. I and so many others across this country saw a glimmer of reform in the outcome of the Chauvin trial. It is my hope that with our Bruin community contributing to creating a different way forward, our voices, our efforts, and our research will help us continue down the path toward true justice for all.
Gene D. Block
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