So many members of our community are hurting right now, shattered by recent deaths that echo the long history of racial injustices that have plagued our country.
As I write this, I realize words are inadequate to address this pain. But I share in the horror of George Floyd’s murder and understand the pain and anger it has sparked.
What is needed now is action — a commitment from our university to not merely celebrate our diversity, but to be actively anti-racist.
Systemic racism, sexism, homophobia and other hateful ideologies seek to deny our shared humanity. They must be called out and confronted. They do not reflect the values of our UCF community.
Learning From Each Other
One way we can take immediate action is to learn from each other.
Because we cannot gather in the traditional way, this Friday from 2 to 3:30 p.m., we will host a virtual conversation about race and unity with the campus community. More information will be shared soon.
Listening to each other’s stories helps each of us learn and grow. We welcome discussions about lived experiences along with suggestions for how we can collectively move forward on our campus.
Educational tools such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s newly launched “Talking About Race” online portal provide valuable resources for self-reflection.
Still, reflection must be paired with action and a commitment to stand against racism in all its forms. At UCF, hate and bias-related incidents are responded to by the Just Knights Response Team, which serves as a resource for our entire community to help ensure a safe and inclusive UCF experience.
Connections to other campus support networks are provided by UCF’s Office of Social Justice and Advocacy.
Change Starts at UCF
Change starts with each one of us, including leaders across the university who must actively embrace diversity and inclusive excellence in their words and actions, especially in mentoring and hiring. It will take all of us working on critical race issues to build a better UCF.
UCF is not perfect. I want us to demonstrate to the world what can be achieved when more of us work together toward a shared humanity.
Since interviewing to come to UCF, I have said that our university looks like the future of America. Looking like the future of America is a great start but not sufficient. We must be the example for the rest of the country and world for how a community fully commits to inclusive excellence.
Black Lives Matter. You matter.
Alexander N. Cartwright