Dear Lurie College Students —
Tuesday’s guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial provided a small measure of accountability. It offered momentary relief because it affirmed what we had clearly seen with our own eyes but were afraid the justice system would deny – that George Floyd was murdered when a police officer pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, depriving him of the oxygen needed to survive.
But the verdict in this one case – while significant – did not bring true justice. The very fact that it was so uncertain what the verdict would be, despite overwhelming evidence and even testimony from other police officers, demonstrates the depth of racism, white supremacy, and structural injustice in our society. And then the day brought news of yet another police shooting of a Black teenager, Ma’Khia Bryant, in Columbus, Ohio.
In our roles as current or aspiring educators, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders, we need to call out racism in all its forms and we need to acknowledge the pain, anger, frustration, and exhaustion that so many in our community are experiencing in this moment.
Our Lurie College faculty and staff are here for you. If you want to connect, share your experiences, or talk through how to support children and families in your placement sites please reach out to your professors and advisors. You are also encouraged to connect with the team in the Student Success Center; they are a fantastic resource and can point you toward additional campus supports if needed. You’ll find curated collections of helpful resources on our Lurie College Antiracism and Racial Justice Resources webpage as well as on the Learning for Justice and Education Minnesota websites.
Students are invited to join Associate Dean Marcos Pizarro and me at our two upcoming Open Forums on Wednesday, April 28, 3-4pm and Wednesday, May 5, 2-3pm. The information to join each of these forums via Zoom should be available in your SJSU Google Calendars. These forums provide space to be in community together and invite dialogue on how we can better fulfill our Lurie College strategic plan and commitments to racial justice.
As we near the end of a tumultuous and challenging semester, please be generous and patient with one another and yourselves. Reach out and ask for help if needed. Check in on your colleagues. Practice self care and step away from the Zoom screen when you can. We see you, we care about you, we are committed to your success.
In solidarity – Heather