On Sunday, I shared the message linked below with students. In the days since, the pain and frustration of so many have only grown harder. Today, as his family mourns the senseless killing of George Floyd, I wanted to speak clearly and publicly on behalf of Longwood.
To our minority students – our black and African-American students especially – the depth of pain you are experiencing is powerful and heartbreaking. Longwood and I grieve with you, and stand with you in determination. The justice, fairness and basic safety you cry out for should be the birthright of every American and every person, not a luxury for the few. No one should live in fear of dying like George Floyd, or Ahmaud Arbery, or Breonna Taylor. When any among us feels such fear, none of us is truly free. Our systemic injustice must change.
Longwood – your friends, faculty and staff – will always strive to be a community of support for you. As an institution, I know we are imperfect. Today I recommit myself and all of us here to the hard work of listening, learning, striving to do better, and reckoning honestly with our past and present.
We mourn the life of George Floyd, and on this day especially reaffirm that racism and injustice go against every value Longwood holds dear. We stand with all of you who grieve, and who labor as citizen leaders to oppose every form of bigotry.