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Coping with Tragedy and Injustice

Dear Ithaca College Community:

Like so many of you, I woke up thinking about the gut-wrenching loss of George Floyd, an African-American man from Minneapolis who was killed last week while under police custody. Mr. Floyd is the third person of color since February to tragically and unjustly be taken away from us. Before him, we lost Ahmaud Arbery from rural Georgia, and Breonna Taylor from Louisville. My heart breaks for these three precious souls, and their families and friends. I just keep thinking about them.

Later in the morning, my husband, Van, and I watched Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily Coronavirus press briefing, and we so connected with what the Governor said in his opening remarks: “It’s a hard day. It is a day of light. It’s a day of darkness. It’s a day where we see how far we have come in so many ways, but yet a day where we see how far we need to go in so many ways.”

So, while the nation is making great progress in re-opening from the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to be mired in violent, senseless acts against people of color, over and over again. These acts of violence have become all too commonplace. They must be condemned, and they must be stopped, as we are hearing from the protestors of all races and from all walks of life in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and elsewhere across the country. As we saw in Louisville at the protest against the shooting of Breonna Taylor, with the solidarity between the Kentucky National Organization of Women and the protestors of color, this violence affects all communities.

Van and I talked about the incredible weight of living with this hard truth about race, violence, and injustice in America. We mourn for the black mothers and families who endure these losses of their children on a regular basis, in a nation already in turmoil from a public health crisis. And we know the horrendous killings weigh heavily on the hearts of our kind and loving IC family members who make their homes in these cities and states, now saddened by these tragedies.  We are thinking about you, one and all.

In closing, I want to let you know that we think it is very important to create a space for reflection and for action. We will be sharing more details about our plans next week.

Please join me in remembering and celebrating the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as others whose deaths are less well known. Stay safe and strong. We are with you.

In Solidarity,

Shirley M. Collado
President, Ithaca College