With all that has occurred in the last few months from the onset and spread of the coronavirus to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and Aja Raquell Rhone Spears, the shooting of Jacob Blake, another unarmed Black man, in the presence of his sons is almost too much to bear.
On Sunday evening, a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot and severely injured 29-year-old Blake, who is now paralyzed, in critical condition and fighting for his life. Blake is the latest in a long line of Black people who have been shot and severely wounded or killed by police.
The excessive force exercised by police led to protests in Kenosha and across the country. On the second day of protests, a white teenager from Illinois traveled to Kenosha, confronted demonstrators, shot and killed two men, and injured a third person.
Blake’s shooting and the senseless deaths and maiming of protestors has our community processing new and renewed sadness, frustration, fatigue and fear. Our Black community members, in particular, are exhausted, traumatized, fearful, outraged, and in profound pain.
Sustained and recurring violence against our Black family, friends and neighbors compounds and intensifies the very real and very human response to tragedy. These incidents are incredibly difficult for some to process. It is crucially important that we support one another as we process these layered and complex feelings. We ask everyone to practice patience, kindness, empathy and compassion during this time.
It is important to restate that the University of California San Diego unequivocally condemns the disproportionate use of excessive force by police in communities of color. We also denounce vigilante acts that terrorize members of the community based upon race, ethnicity, country of origin, immigration status, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We as a community must not and will not tolerate acts of hate, bias or violence.
As our community continues to learn how to be actively anti-racist by pursuing individual, institutional, and structural change that will dismantle anti-Black racism, we recognize the need to provide spaces for healing from racial trauma and for restorative self-care. We are in the process of coordinating gatherings designed to support and rally around our Black community members who are struggling through this tragic time in our country.
Slavery, racism, and discrimination are all part of our nation’s story. The call for racial justice remains unmet in 2020. As leaders, we acknowledge this fact and are working to address it. We continue to advance dialogue while taking corrective action.
In times such as this, our open, inclusive, and compassionate community rallies together to support one another. Know that UC San Diego is committed to doing what can be done within our institution to make sure everyone feels that they belong and that they matter. This is our commitment to ourselves and to each other.
Pradeep K. Khosla
Becky R. Petitt
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion