Responding to the Derek Chauvin Verdict

President Rebecca M. Bergman sent this message to Gustavus students, faculty, and staff on April 20, 2021.
Posted on April 20th, 2021 by

This afternoon, we witnessed a pivotal and historic verdict in which former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

Gusties, today is not the end. We have much work to do as a campus and as a nation to confront anti-Black racism, disrupt passive acceptance of bias, and dismantle systems of privilege that have dominated society for too long. The last year has laid bare the continued issues facing BIPOC people in the United States. Most recently, we experienced the death of Daunte Wright, which illustrated the police violence that disproportionately impacts Black and Brown bodies. We have also seen anti-Semitic and white supremacist propaganda that was posted in Saint Peter and Mankato in the last month, along with rising discrimination toward Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander people.

Against this backdrop, many in our local, state, and national communities are celebrating today’s decision as a seminal moment in the continued march toward racial justice. As I am processing this verdict, my thoughts turn to all those who have organized, protested, and made their voices heard over the course of the last 11 months; those who continue to suffer from the trauma and pain of injustice; and those for whom a weight has been lifted, at least by some measure, and replaced by renewed hope for lasting change. As we consider the impact of today‚Äôs decision, let us always remember that together we hold the power to create a better, more inclusive society.

The Gustavus community is invited to a time of solidarity and silence on Friday, April 23 at 10 a.m. Co-sponsored by the Office of the Chaplains and the Center for Inclusive Excellence, the event will consist of a silent gathering on Eckman Mall. More information about Friday’s event is below. I also invite you to visit the Center for Inclusive Excellence, reach out to the Dean of Students office, support your friends and colleagues, and continue to use the valuable resources curated by the Counseling Center.

Gusties, I ask that together we continue to take action and do the hard work necessary to build a just and equitable world.

Yours in community,

President Bergman

Silence & Solidarity – Friday, April 23 at 10 a.m.
Co-sponsored by the Office of the Chaplains and the Center for Inclusive Excellence

We invite the Gustavus community to show support for and stand in solidarity with Black students, colleagues, and communities in the face of ongoing violence, trauma, and injustice stemming from systemic anti-Black racism in Minnesota and across the country. On Friday, April 23, you can participate by 1) wearing black, 2) gathering for 10 minutes of shared silence and embodied presence at Eckman Mall, 3) completing the DiversityEdu DEI Education course recommended by the PCDEI as a way of educating yourself about inclusion, equity, and interrupting patterns of microaggressions, bias, and discrimination. The gathering on Eckman Mall will be a time of showing silent solidarity. Please arrive by 10:05 and stand in the circle we will form around the mall area spanning from 3 Flags to the chapel. Please wear your mask and maintain safe physical distancing. A bell will ring at 10:05 and 10:15 to mark the start and end of these 10 minutes of community silence. Let us know your intentions to participate here.


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