Dear OU Community,
We learned today that Derek Chauvin has been convicted of the murder of George Floyd. I know this news elicits raw emotions for so many in our community. While a decision has been made, we also know when human life is lost, a conviction does not fully set things right. It cannot bring full healing.
The tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have been understandably exhausting for many of us to endure. This is especially true for our Black community and other members of color who know and have experienced the sting of racism firsthand. It is an unfair burden to be carried alone, which is why we must stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder as the OU Family.
The weeks-long trial of Derek Chauvin – a process that retraumatized so many – is now at an end and we are left to move forward. Moments like these present an opportunity to stand together for the sake of our community and to continue striving toward a future that supports diversity, equity, inclusion, and fosters respect and understanding. We must prioritize this work to enact change and acknowledge where our responsibilities lie in addressing injustice both at OU and across the country as a beacon of hope and understanding.
Many of our community members may be hurting. Please remember that resources are available to you through the university. If you are experiencing difficulty, please contact your campus counseling services (Norman, Health Sciences Center, Tulsa). If you are a student, please feel free to reach out to a student life or centralized student affairs team member at your respective campus. Our staff members are always prepared and willing to offer support based on community needs.
At a time when our country is confronting race in a way that we hope makes lasting change, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ring hopeful and true: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” May we each be a part of that eventual and inevitable bend.
Joseph Harroz, Jr.