A message from Mason Engineering's chief diversity officer
June 2, 2020
Dear VSE Family,
I write to you today as the problem-solvers, and system builders of today and tomorrow. I write to you because the work ahead of us is hard, and the topic is tough. But you all chose engineering and computing as your discipline, so I believe you are up for the challenge.
I am sure by now you all are aware of the events that have unfolded over the past week, starting with the disturbing false reporting using race-baiting in the case of Christian Cooper in New York’s Central Park, compounded with the traumatic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and closing with George Floyd and a morbid refrain of “I can’t breathe.” With that, three new names were added to the list of Black lives taken by police violence. All the while, as a nation we have to be fully aware at how this global pandemic has particularly impacted Black communities. While these might seem like separate concerns, continuous trauma leads to long term disparities and diagnoses. The inter-connectivity of it all only adds to the weight.
I am sending this message out now – first and foremost as a Black man. As someone who has watched the news and cried and raged inside. As someone who felt so much sadness. I want to tell you, you are not alone. I want to make particular space for the Black community within VSE – student, staff, and faculty, to say I see you. To let you know that this pain, while heavy, doesn’t have to be carried alone. Please reach out if you need to talk. Please reach out if you need resources. Know that it is okay to grieve and be unsure – there is no right way to respond to this. Take your time, and be kind to yourselves.
The hard truth is that racism is a stain on this country, and it is one that we struggle to get rid of. We try to cover it up, blot over it, smear it around, but we rarely choose to deal with the source of it. This means that likely we will have to have further conversations like this in the future. Within the Volgenau School, let’s try to be better. Let’s try to be proactive and educate ourselves on how to confront racism and be a better community. This resource guide is a good place to start.
Be gentle to one another during these times – be community-minded whenever possible.
NOTE: Please see Interim President Anne Holton and President-Designate Gregory Washington’s statement,
released June 1: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/586096