Dear Members of the Edinboro Community,
I write to you this evening following three months of death — George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and more than 100,000 victims of COVID-19. All fell at the hands of pandemics, viruses lacking the capacity to thrive and reproduce outside a host body. In one instance, we are combatting a physical virus, which may be overcome once a vaccine is discovered. In the other, we are dealing with the virus of racism, which has deep roots, long tentacles and is far more difficult to squelch.
Most of us have watched the video of George Floyd and heard his desperate words, “I can’t breathe.” Those suffering from COVID-19 have also struggled to breathe. Indeed, these are dark days that have found many of us gasping for breath in a different way as we watch the video of one more senseless and brutal death on the heels of a novel coronavirus that has claimed family members, friends and livelihoods.
Our hearts go out to the Floyd, Arbery and Taylor families. We stand with them and the African American community in their pain and in support of justice.
Likewise, we are deeply disheartened by the scenes of destruction in Minneapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie and many other cities across the country. Together, we must find a way to stop racism, marginalization and violence. Higher education, with its commitment to diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and dialogue, can play an important role in this work.We stand ready to help lead the conversation.
Let us join together to ensure that George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the many victims of injustice did not die in vain.