Dear Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff of the iSchool,
In the wake of recent racist anti-Black incidents and violence in Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, New York, and elsewhere around the country, we call for full and deep solidarity with our African American students, faculty, staff, alumni and neighbors. The iSchool joins UW-Madison leadership and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association in condemning the tragic and inexcusable death of George Floyd at the hands of several Minneapolis police officers.
In the face of consistent and senseless killings of unarmed black people in our country, we know that words are inadequate to fully acknowledge the experiences of all members of our community. Racist violence is unacceptable at any time and is especially injurious now in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate and avoidable harm on Black lives.
The iSchool reaffirms its commitment to fostering inclusive learning and working environments that embrace the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and interests represented in our communities and the broader world. To quote Chancellor Blank, “Each of us – particularly those of us who do not face the daily challenge of living amid inequity and injustice – must contribute to and lead the change that is needed.”
We encourage all of you to reach out to your support networks during these painful times. For those who are feeling a sense of mental anguish and/or isolation during these uncertain and difficult times, the University has several free mental health resources online, including:
- SilverCloud can assist with anxiety and stress management;
- The Center for Healthy Minds offers resilience and mindfulness training; and
- LifeMatters for faculty and staff seeking assistance with life, work, family, and well-being.
- For additional mental health resources,including free crisis services, see the iSchool’s COVID-19 resources page
For additional statements from campus leadership, and professional organizations, please see:
- Chancellor Blank’s Statement
- Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion Sims’ Statement
- Press Release from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association
- Statement from UWPD Chief, on behalf of Dane County Police Chiefs
- Madison365 recently hosted a Virtual Town Hall discussing issues in our local community.
For those who strive to be allies and advocates for our colleagues of color, there is much to do and to learn. These are really tough, hurtful, heartbreaking, and uncertain times. The iSchool Community is here to support you. If there are other ways we can help, please let me know.
Professor and Director