Dear Campus Community,
We have certain ideals in the United States: the right to liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. But these rights, which should be unequivocally distributed across all peoples, are unfairly and inequitably distributed within our society. The past week's events, and those that preceded them, expose these long-standing inequalities. We recognize that sadness, outrage and self-reflection are common initial reactions. In response, we must face these turbulent times head-on with actionable steps that move us, as a society, toward permanent systemic change.
An email feels inadequate to express our grief and empathy for our African American and Black students and colleagues. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others are atrocities caused by long-standing systemic issues of racism. These systemic racial inequalities are found everywhere—including in STEM and higher education. Furthermore, tragedies such as these are deepened since the very same communities are disproportionally experiencing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We want to reiterate our support for each of you in your learning, work and service. We value everything you contribute to our community. All of us who uphold Mines’ diversity, inclusion and access values are thinking of you, of these events and how we can support you to facilitate positive change. We encourage supervisors and faculty to have grace, invite conversations and support those affected by these events.
These events have been especially distressing for those who identify as African American or Black. We have worked with members of the Black Mines Community Alliance to identify resources to help process this trauma (more available on the DI&A website):
- BEAM: Black virtual therapist network
- Black Lives Matter: Black and BIPOC mental health resources
- Black Mines Community Alliance: Join as a general member, advocate or leader
- Colorado Providers of Color
- The Safe Place App: Mental health app geared toward the Black community.
As noted in President Johnson’s correspondence to the Mines community on Wednesday morning, we commit collectively to doing more. We ask all Mines community members to commit to learning more about unconscious bias and systemic racism. Find your own way to take meaningful action towards being an advocate, ally and anti-racist. The following resources are great to start the learning process. There are more listed on the DI&A website.
- Still saying “all lives matter?” Please read about why you should stop using the phrase.
- Trying to make sense of all this? Watch Trevor Noah’s video on dominos of racial injustice and police brutality.
- Build empathy and read “Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay—Chances Are They’re Not.”
- Support Denver’s Black-owned businesses.
- Start discussions about race and equity. Use one of Mines DI&A Inclusion Icebreakers to start your next meeting or class. They’re easy and quick.
What’s next? Mines DI&A invites your suggestions for cultivating allies across campus and addressing institutional and systemic racism in our communities. We will (1) collaborate with Mines police and review our relationships with local and state police; (2) investigate opportunities to create accountability groups; (3) explore ways that we can adapt our advocates for gender equity program to advocates for racial equity; (4) collaborate with the Trefny Center for Innovative Instruction to continue to improve instruction, mitigate bias in the classroom and teach about systemic racism especially as it influences science and engineering; (5) elevate the experiences and contributions of our colleagues who are African American, Black or people of color; (6) improve leadership training to cultivate inclusive leaders; (7) collaborate with Human Resources to ensure DI&A is infused into onboarding of new employees and that supervisors are trained to mitigate bias; and (8) continue to foster dialogue and shared responsibility for DI&A.
We remain committed to Mines Strategic Plan for Diversity, Inclusion & Access. If you uphold Mines DI&A values and want to state your commitment as an advocate for racial equity and anti-racism, add your pledge to this sheet. We will follow up with resources to support you. With Mines DI&A commitment to a shared responsibility, we encourage you to join the discussion and share your ideas for social change at Mines on the dedicated Teams channel.
Take care of each other. Take care of yourselves. Let us know how we can support you through these tough times.
From all of us here at Mines DI&A
Mines DI&A Staff
Black Mines Community Alliance