Caring for one another amid the Chauvin trial

Published: April 20, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The following message was shared with the Ohio University community April 20, 2021.

Dear Bobcats, 

As we anticipate the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, our nation, and our University community, continues to grapple with the ongoing trauma and pain of systemic racism.

Like many of you, we have been closely following the trial with hope that the verdict will bring justice to Mr. Floyd and his family and affirm the voices of those who have denounced his death and the racism that led to it.

With many of us left feeling as traumatized in the retelling of this terrible tragedy through the Chauvin trial, there is little doubt that the courtroom proceedings have weighed more heavily on our Black students, colleagues, peers, friends and neighbors. 

Many of our students, faculty, and staff have voiced feelings of anxiety, sadness and frustration over a system that continues to allow this violence to happen — most recently resulting in the senseless deaths of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright. According to a recent New York Times report, since testimony in Derek Chauvin’s trial began on March 29, more than three people a day have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, with Black and Latino people representing more than half of the dead. 

These deaths have been compounded by the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color, and by the rise in hate crimes against individuals of color, including the spate of unrelenting violence escalating against Asian communities in recent weeks.

In this time of societal upheaval and heightened anxiety, we call upon our community of care to look out for one another and to hold each other accountable. It is our hope that this trial, and the activism and awareness which resulted from Mr. Floyd’s death, will bring us closer to a nation of inclusion and equality. 

Resources and Support for our Community

We know that some of you may derive great benefit from campus resources to support your psychological and emotional well-being. For this reason, we encourage all of you to seek out campus resources that can provide support and encouragement to Ohio University community members. Some of them are highlighted to the right.

Moving Forward

If you would like to join in a discussion about the trial, or if you are seeking ways to process this consequential moment, we encourage you to attend the third annual Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) on Thursday, April 22, with the theme “Pathways to Anti-Racism.”

The DLI brings together students, faculty, staff, community members, and outside experts to discover strategies to foster a sustainable anti-racist campus and community culture. This year’s keynote address, from 10 – 11 a.m., will be given by Dr. James D. Anderson. Dr. Anderson is dean of the College of Education, the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Education, and affiliate professor of History, African American Studies, and Law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Learn more about the DLI and register here.

In times like these, community is the strongest antidote to combat fear, isolation and loneliness. You are not alone. 

In community and solidarity, 

Gigi Secuban
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Jenny Hall-Jones
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs