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Message in Solidarity 6/2/2020

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Dear ESF Community,

The news of the death of George Floyd has evoked deep forms of fear, anguish, rage, and sadness. His death is tragic, wrong and a recent example of a long list of injustices in a long list of atrocities that span centuries. This tragic loss of life comes on the heels of a series of racist and bias-related incidents in our own community that have affected every member of our campus community, but especially people of color.

Please join the ESF community on June 3, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for a virtual vigil to honor the lives of every Black, Brown and Indigenous person who has fallen victim to racial violence. This virtual event will be organized by ESF's Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. Login details and additional information will be provided as soon as possible.

We would like to recognize both the direct and indirect impact these tragedies have on the members of our community. We recognize that many of us are experiencing distress and fear for ourselves, our friends, our children and our families.

As earth stewards working towards providing and achieving optimal health for the globe and each other, it is important to recognize that Mr. Floyd's death and others were preventable and enabled by a deeply rooted system of racial inequity, oppression, and discrimination. Therefore, with this letter, we also ask you to use this moment to strengthen your commitment to achieving racial equity rather than fall into despair. It is important that we join the call across the country to demand justice for George Floyd and the countless other victims of police violence in solidarity with the Black community through peaceful protests that lead to important reforms.

We encourage all members of the ESF community to learn meaningful ways to show solidarity and stand against racism and hate in all its forms. We also ask that you recognize the overwhelming and disproportionate psychological toll these events continue to have on our Black students, staff and faculty, and ask that you practice compassion and radical empathy to our colleagues and students experiencing trauma in the aftermath of these tragedies. We also encourage those experiencing trauma to practice self-care by connecting with family, friends, and other community support people.

As part of our campus-wide dialog last semester, the ESF community created the Living Document, and we encourage people to continue to share your thoughts with us and each other.

Finally, let us not forget to uphold the mission and values of ESF and work together to eradicate racism and promote a healthy, safe and just community and society for all.

If you would like to talk, ESF students are invited to call ESF Counseling Services at 315-470-4716. Dr. Lizette Rivera, the Director of Student Inclusion Initiatives (Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) is also available to speak with you. Dr. Rivera can be reached at lrivera@esf.edu. For staff and faculty, support is available through the Employee Assistance Program coordinated by Nan Clark (nfclark@esf.edu, 315-470-6726).

Sincerely,

ESF Senior Leadership

ESF Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee