Dear Carolina Community,
A year ago, George Floyd was senselessly murdered by a Minneapolis police officer who defiantly pinned him to the ground for 9 minutes and 29 seconds* with his knee pressing into Mr. Floyd’s neck despite his choked pleas to let him breathe. Broadcast footage allowed the nation to watch in horror as he endured this slow, agonizing death…and we will never be the same.
In the aftermath of his murder and similar events that preceded it, the Carolina community has come together to protest, expressing our frustration and outrage. In the year that has passed, we have watched our legal system perform as it should, finding the now-former police officer who committed this heinous act guilty on all counts. Yet, justice still eludes us as similar acts of violence and transgressions continue against people of color. Clearly, we still have much healing and work to do, as a community and as a nation.
At Carolina, we saw faculty, staff and students come together for courageous conversations that have set the stage for the deep intensive work and critical dialogue that must continue as we prepare for our return to campus in the fall.
On Tuesday, May 25 at noon, the Bell Tower will ring an additional nine times in recognition of George Floyd’s final trauma. We invite you to take 9 minutes and 29 seconds at that time to reflect in silence on the violence inflicted upon and pain suffered by African American and Black people in the U.S., how our country has responded and changed over the past year, and how we can each improve our understanding, relationships and support of the BIPOC community both at Carolina and beyond. George Floyd did not die in vain – instead, he galvanized a nation and our campus.
We further invite you to attend the final event of the Culture of Care series, Care in the Midst of Chaos, hosted by the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with the Center for Faculty Excellence and Student Affairs, at 4 p.m. on May 25. Dr. Charla Blumell, Dean Suzie Baker and a panel of UNC professionals will share their perspectives on how they have supported our students during this difficult year. We hope you will join us.
Special Adviser to the Provost and Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion/
Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Student Body President
*During the police officer’s trial, the original time of 8 minutes and 46 seconds was proven inaccurate and has been updated since to the correct time of 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Resources for the Campus Community
- The CAPS Multicultural Health Program is specifically dedicated to meeting the needs of students of color.
- Black Mental Health Resources (curated by NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides a variety of outlets to support your well-being at any time…but particularly during this time of crisis.
Numerous articles, videos, podcasts, books, websites, films, tv series, organizations and more can be found on our Anti-Racism Resources page to help facilitate dialogue.