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Standing in Solidarity with our Community

Dear TGS community,

We write with sadness and dismay in response to two different acts of violence targeting communities of color this past weekend.

Many of us awoke on Sunday to learn of a white gunman’s nighttime rampage through a supermarket in a predominantly African American neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. His clear intention, described by the city’s mayor, “to take as many Black lives as possible,” reminds us of the reasons that “Black Lives Matter” is not a statement that can be taken for granted in America today.

President Biden declared while speaking in Buffalo on Monday, “White supremacy is a poison,” and we agree that it has “no place in America.”

Sadly, hate has many forms. The shooting on Sunday at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, California, by a man expressing anti-Taiwanese sentiments was motivated by a distinct and different history of geopolitical animus. Yet it finds space for its expression here, in an America where acts of violence against vulnerable, marginalized communities of color have a long history, and today seem so commonplace as to numb our minds and hearts.

Unfortunately, these are just two of many targeted acts of aggression against minoritized populations. We can name others, whether right here in Chicago or across the country. These acts are reprehensible, and we must speak out against them, do the difficult work of parsing their meanings and their implications for all of us, and strive for a more perfect and more beloved community.

The Graduate School stands in solidarity with our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) communities as we all try to process and absorb these unconscionable crimes. We will continue to prioritize making our University a welcoming environment for all.

Hate has no place in our world, and we seek to make it unwelcome at Northwestern.

Northwestern is a community of exceptional talent and intelligence. We must use our collective abilities to shine a light on social injustice and racial inequity, to create a better world in which all can feel a sense of safety and belonging.

If you would like to talk to someone about these recent events, we will connect you with the appropriate campus resources, including Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for graduate students and the Employee Assistance Program for faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees. We also ask that you respect fellow community members who are grieving.

We are here to support you, and we appreciate all you do to help create justice and equality in our graduate and postdoctoral communities.
Kelly E. Mayo
Walter and Jennie Bayne Professor of Molecular Biosciences
Dean of The Graduate School and
Associate Provost for Graduate Education

Damon L. Williams, Jr.
Associate Dean, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Miriam J. Petty
Associate Dean for Academic Programs
Gayle E. Woloschak
Associate Dean for Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Programs
Sergey Kucherenko
Associate Dean of Finance and Business Operations


Categories: From the Dean