Please Join Us in a Moment of Silence Tonight
Dear DU Community Members,
We are writing today with heavy hearts. While so much of our attention over the past few months has been on the pandemic that grips the world and threatens our day-to-day health and welfare, the recent violent deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville remind us that members of communities of color have always been criminalized, marginalized and victimized, and that our systems and institutions have failed to create the equity we know is fundamental to our dignity as human beings. For every violent and needless death that is recorded on bystander video or security camera, hundreds more happen every day—and most perpetrators go free. Tensions build wherever vulnerable populations experience barriers and marginalization: on idyllic college campuses such as ours, and in hospitals and neighborhoods, on city sidewalks and country roads.
While many of us have been “howling” our support and solidarity each night at 8:00 p.m. for healthcare workers and other first responders on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, tonight we ask that we all extend our support for a few more minutes to commemorate the more than 100,000 victims of the coronavirus in the United States, as well as the thousands more people whose lives are lost every year to racial violence. Tonight, may we lift our hearts in support of the families and friends who lost George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
At sunset tonight—8:20 p.m. in Denver, and at the local time wherever you are—please join us and all members of the DU community in a moment of silence to honor those lost to senseless violence and hatred.
Importantly, our commitment to equity and inclusion on our campus cannot be overshadowed by our logistical responses to the pandemic. Next week, we will share plans for other activities and programs that will give us a chance to come together and process recent events. On Thursday, June 4, Community + Values will hold a webinar focused on how we, as a community, can fight against injustices and can create a more inclusive institution for all. More information will be available soon on the C + V website. Details also will be forthcoming about an IRISE teach-in next week, and other activities. The Inclusion and Equity Education website also is a great resource for events and programming.
We also suggest that we take some time, in our homes or workplaces, to review and discuss one or more of a number of resources that remind us of the connection of recent events to a larger historical framework. For example, we can review recent posts by the Equal Justice Initiative; this video of the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking about the discrimination he experienced as a student who aspired to a career in science and this blog post from the Urban Institute about supporting Asian American communities against COVID-19 racism.
In the meantime, whether you are on campus or working, teaching or studying from home, please know that you can reach out to the following resources:
- The Health & Counseling Center (HCC) provides many tele-medical and mental health services, including crisis and after-hours support. All University of Denver students have access to free crisis services at the HCC, regardless of insurance coverage (303-871-2205).
- Employee Assistance Program: SupportLinc is the University’s employee assistance program. DU employees and their family members can access counseling and receive professional referrals to other experts. Call 1-888-881-LINC  or log in to the SupportLinc website with username: universityofdenver.
- Student Outreach & Support is a University resource where trained staff members ensure that students are connected to appropriate campus resources, have a plan of action to meet their goals, and learn how to navigate challenging situations. You can activate these services by completing a SOS Referral at http://sos.du.edu or by calling 303-871-2400.
We can’t be together physically, but today, especially, we hope we can be aligned on what is important and right: our commitment to the public good, and to creating a campus environment where everyone feels—and is—safe, welcome and treated with respect and dignity.
Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor
Art Jones, Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Niki Latino, Interim Vice Chancellor for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
Corinne Lengsfeld, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Jerron Lowe, Interim Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
Tom Romero, Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence Research and Curricular Initiatives