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The Work Continues

A message from President Suzanne Rivera

Dear Macalester Campus Community, 

I write to acknowledge that we each may be experiencing many emotions tonight. 

We may feel relief that, in this case, our legal system has delivered some sense of justice. But we also may feel sadness because the guilty verdicts will not restore George Floyd’s family. We may feel anger because we know so many others have been harmed by systems of oppression that continue to perpetrate cruel consequences in our country. We may feel exhausted when we hear some say they think “the work is done” when, in fact, we know the work is only beginning. 

My first message to the community, on my first day at Macalester back in early June, started with expressing the outrage, despair, and grief we all were feeling about the murder of Mr. Floyd. And, in many ways, those feelings have grown over the past 11 months. Since last summer, the nation has endured numerous additional traumas, including the killing of teenager Ma’khia Bryant in Ohio this afternoon, which have been felt more acutely among our Black friends and colleagues. The range of emotions we feel today is not only about George Floyd, but also about generations of systemic racism and police brutality against Black Americans and other people of color. 

The best way we, as a learning community, can honor the memories of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Ma’khia Bryant, and so many, many others is to engage in the deep, sustained, and challenging work of dismantling racism and advancing social equality. Indeed, we cannot be successful as an institution without making this work central to our teaching, our learning, and our lives. So, I am asking that our faculty please use class time tomorrow for reflection and dialogue. Students need an opportunity to talk about the verdict and its implications. As a community of thinkers and scholars, let’s take the time to make sense of this moment.

As I shared during our campus-wide gathering on the Great Lawn this afternoon, at Macalester, we oppose police brutality and anti-Black racism. We stand for justice and we stand for peace. But standing is not enough– we also must speak out and we must act in order to make a more just and peaceful world. I want to express gratitude to each and every one of you who stand up and speak out and take action to make the world better, today and every day.

Black lives matter.

April 20, 2021