May 25, 2021

Dear CSU,

A year ago today, Minneapolis resident George Floyd was killed by police; a little over a month ago Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s murder. In the months between these two events, the nation saw increasing demands for fundamental changes to policing, spurred not only by Floyd’s death but by the killing and injuring of more than 300 people of color: Jacob Blake, Daunte Wright, Angelo Quinto, Jonathan Price, Ma’Khia Bryant, to name just a few.

As a research institution committed to our Principles of Community in how we engage with one another and how we engage with the world, CSU has joined these conversations. Last fall saw both a student-organized rally on the Oval and the installation of a public art project on campus featuring the words BLACK LIVES MATTER on the sidewalk outside of our Art Department.

This past Sunday, CSU Political Science associate professor David McIvor published an essay in the New York Times making the case that “May 25 Should Be a Day of Mourning for George Floyd.” I encourage all of you to read McIvor’s piece. One passage struck a particular chord with me: Mourning is a movement toward wholeness by way of acknowledging brokenness. But it is less a terminable process than a way of being in the world.

Today we are all mourning: for George Floyd; for the many, many other Black people killed by police in our country; for the different perspectives that divide us from our colleagues, family and friends; for those lost to COVID; and for the quality of life we all have lost during this pandemic year. I love McIvor’s invitation to us to see mourning as a movement toward wholeness by way of acknowledging brokenness.  That process sounds both painful and powerful, but like something that our CSU community is uniquely brave enough to undertake, together.