Derek Chauvin Trial Verdict

Today the verdict issued in the trial of Derek Chauvin brings an end to the legal questions surrounding George Floyd’s senseless death. It does not bring to an end the pain from the invisible wounds that have been formed over generations of black Americans suffering hardships from discrimination.

As the leader of a community of scholars, it is part of my daily responsibility to see to it that Middle Georgia State University remains a place of dialogue and a place of learning where people of differing backgrounds, cultures and beliefs can work together to seek knowledge and understanding. A place of listening and acknowledging that while we may not all share the same experiences, we can all strive to appreciate the struggles faced by so many of our friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors.

During this time of continued racial turmoil and multiple mass shootings, it is important that we restate our commitment to our guiding values of stewardship, engagement, adaptability and learning and how those values can guide us in our efforts to understand and improve the lives of those around us and in defining our University’s role in progressing this conversation.

Over the past year, we’ve seen a number of changes at Middle Georgia State designed to bring to the forefront issues of racial inequality. Today, I challenge all members of our communities to continue these and other important conversations, to maintain a peaceful, thoughtful debate centered on actions that we can take – as an institution and as individuals. I challenge us all to appreciate the value of imagining ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and to remain open to perspectives that may be difficult to hear or uncomfortable to process.

For many of us in the MGA community, today’s news may indicate progress, but there is still more to do. I am re-issuing my challenge of last summer to our campus leaders to encourage this discussion on campus through events and outreach focused on intentional listening. Please, reach out to your colleagues and ask how they are doing.

Thank you all for allowing Middle Georgia State University to be a part of your experiences, and for the steps so many of you have already taken and will continue to take to share your experiences with our community. It is my hope all individuals feel supported here and that we are fostering an environment where we support one another.

Thank you, and be well.