Dear Students, Alumni, Colleagues and Friends:
This past week, we have all experienced a range of emotions after viewing the horrific and senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement officials. As a mother, wife and president of Tuskegee University with more than 2,800 students –
of which 35% are male –
I am concerned about your safety and futures. While Black males have been the most obvious targets of police brutality and mistreatment, I am equally distressed about the fate of Black women who have increasingly suffered from similar miscarriages of justice.
I have a particularly heightened sense of concern for your safety and general well-being during these trying times. After watching the weekend protests occurring in major cities in the country, my heart sank again as I saw the video of two students from our sister institutions of Morehouse College and Spelman College who were forcibly removed from their vehicle and tasered by Atlanta police without obvious provocation. The death of George Floyd and these subsequent protests have exposed the troubling state of our country on many fronts – including racial disparities, social injustices, and economic inequalities that disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. Although many of you may choose to participate in these protests, I ask that you be mindful of the notable cause of peaceful protests.
You are an important part of my family, so I ask that you stay safe. We will be working with student leaders and others over the coming days and weeks to engage in action-oriented solutions focused on anti-racism, peace, equality, and social justice reform. Join the Division of Student Affairs on Thursday, June 4, at 8:00 p.m. central time on Zoom for "Know Peace, Know Justice: A Safety and Mental Health Discussion." The Zoom link will be sent separately and posted on social media.
Stay safe. Stay focused. Know that we will get through this together.
Lily D. McNair, Ph.D.