ODI Observation - Time for Racial Reckoning: The Chauvin Trial

April 16, 2021

Dear UAlbany Community:

As the nation prepares for a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, it is critical to acknowledge that the trial—and its conclusion—may evoke strong and difficult emotions for many members of our community. This challenging moment was heightened by last week’s fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, MN.

While we may have different lived experiences and different responses to these events, I believe we share the belief that George Floyd’s life mattered and that all Black lives matter.

During this time of racial reckoning, it is important that we share the ways in which we can support one another. It is also a time to reaffirm the University at Albany’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and to racial and social justice—which we demonstrate not only through our words but also through ongoing actions and improvements across the University.

As part of this commitment, we have established a Racial Justice Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Joyce DeWitt-Parker and Dr. Karyn Loscocco. The committee has actively identified ways to address anti-Black bias, discrimination, hate speech and violence, as well as anti-Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander bias. As an institution, it is critical that we stand together to address all forms of systemic racism with a sense of urgency and intentionality.

We are fortunate to also have resources such as the Bias Incident Response Protocol, the Multicultural Resource Center, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to help us navigate spaces that become difficult to manage during times of stress.

Maintaining a community marked by equity and inclusivity requires ongoing effort. Let us continue to do all we can to care for ourselves and one another, remaining sensitive that many among us are navigating feelings of hurt and frustration. These feelings may be triggered by the consistent reports of violence perpetrated against members of our greater community.

Thank you for the work that you do to make greater strides as we seek to address racial injustice, and for collaborating as a community in all of the ways that make us the Great Danes.

Samuel Caldwell

Interim Chief Diversity Officer