A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf
To Harvard Kennedy School’s Staff, Students, Fellows, and Faculty,
I hope you have read the statement below, written by the Deans of all of Harvard’s schools together with the President and Provost.
I am deeply saddened and angered by the continuing killings of Black Americans and other Americans of color and by the horrific testimony about the death of George Floyd. This country has an ongoing history of racism: It is not something that is behind us, but rather a system that continues to reduce opportunities for Black Americans and other Americans of color, and that results in violent tragedies of the sort we are witnessing to this minute. Our society can and must do better.
We at the Kennedy School stand against racism and for racial justice—in our teaching, learning, research, outreach, public service, and the operations and culture of the School itself. To engage more with this crucial and urgent work, I encourage you to explore the public website page on opposing racism and discrimination; the Knet portal for diversity, inclusion, and belonging; and the new summary of our multifaceted efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion and to oppose racism.
The terrible tragedies that we are watching can have a disproportionate impact on the well-being of members of the Kennedy School community who are Black or people of color, and I am grateful to the Black Student Union and other people of color for reminding us about this issue. I ask everyone in our community to treat others with the empathy and flexibility we all hope for when we are facing difficulties participating fully in our usual activities. I know that our faculty members will thoughtfully consider how some students may be feeling as they try to finish their coursework during these final, often stressful, weeks of the semester.
Many resources for students and others can be found on Knet here; staff and faculty can also reach out to the Employee Assistance Program here. Also, this Wednesday at 4:15 p.m., the School’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging will host another Community Connection Space for those looking for support and companionship during the trial in Minneapolis.
Let us continue to work together toward a just world where all people’s rights and dignity are respected and honored.
A message from Harvard University Leadership
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
Recent weeks have brought yet more devastating tragedies across our nation. The heartbreaking killings of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright, two young people who had so much of their lives yet to live, and the gut-wrenching testimony recounting George Floyd’s final minutes, have focused this country again on the killings of African Americans and other people of color by police. The list of those whose names we know is long, and a full list would include many others whose names we do not know, and whose deaths did not occur in broad daylight, in full view of multiple witnesses, or with cell phone or body cameras recording.
No words can capture the hurt, fear, anger, and grief felt about these tragedies by so many in our community, across this country, and around the world. It is appalling and unjust that people in our nation, by virtue of the color of their skin, face a greater risk of being killed in a police encounter if they are driving with an expired tag or a burnt-out taillight, if they make a rolling stop, if they somehow arouse a store clerk’s suspicion, or if they are just coming home from a family dinner.
The terrible impact of these tragedies goes far beyond the lives lost, children deprived of their parents and parents deprived of their children. In a system in which police have vast discretion to stop people on suspicion of minor offenses, so many people of color in this country live with an ever-present sense of vulnerability because of the possibility that a police encounter will result in tragedy.
Harvard’s motto, Veritas, requires a commitment to truth. The truth is that racism runs through the history of the United States and continues to have deadly effects on people of color in this country today. The truth is that our society is far from eradicating the evil of racism, whatever the verdict in the latest trial.
We, as a community, must stand against racism. We must commit ourselves to the unfinished work of building a just society—one in which everyone’s rights and safety are protected, and everyone’s dignity is honored.
Lawrence S. Bacow
President, Harvard University
Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Dean, Harvard Division of Continuing Education
George Q. Daley
Dean, Harvard Medical School
Dean, Harvard Business School
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Francis J. Doyle III
Dean, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Dean, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Alan M. Garber
Provost, Harvard University
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
William V. Giannobile
Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
David N. Hempton
Dean, Harvard Divinity School
David F. Holland
Acting Dean, Harvard Divinity School
Dean, Harvard College
Executive Vice President, Harvard University
Bridget Terry Long
Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education
John F. Manning
Dean, Harvard Law School
Sarah M. Whiting
Dean, Graduate School of Design
Michelle A. Williams
Dean, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health