Dear Monarch Community:

Yesterday, many of us participated in a March for Justice on campus in honor of George Floyd and other African American victims of brutality. The event was the idea of Mufu Taiwo, a former football player who is a graduate student in sport management.

It attracted nearly 300 people, including many of his former teammates, other students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and families with young children.

It was a positive and moving event, bringing together a wonderful array of people representing different ethnicities, ages and walks of life. The march reinforced not only the strength and diversity of our Monarch community but also the need for us to intensify our commitment to end racism and other forms of injustice in our society.

I want to share with you some of what I said and invite your help, your ideas and your action as we strengthen our resolve to engage in this transformational work:

The entire Monarch community joins me in expressing our collective outrage at the senseless murder of George Floyd. While we continue to send prayers to the Floyd family, that is not enough. I am joined by all of you to say again, "Black Lives Matter" and also to say, "No more" to the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others before them.

This has existed for far too long. Hate and prejudice have sadly continued - in part - because it apparently takes a camera to fully capture an atrocity.

For many victims of hate, their truthful words were often not "good enough" to be believed, simply because of the color of their skin.

As a diverse and inclusive campus, we must continue to demonstrate we strive to learn from differences, gaining a richer understanding of the world around us.

When Alicia Garza, co-creator of Black Lives Matter, spoke at the President's Lecture Series at ODU 3 ½ years ago, she inspired us to stand together in transforming society and ensuring the lives and contributions of individuals are recognized equally. All of us must intensify our commitment for that vision to be realized both at Old Dominion and across the world.

More than ever, we recognize the need to reach that day - and soon - where Martin Luther King's dream for his children to live in a world "where they will not be judged by the color of their skin" will become how all people truly live their lives.

All of us have the duty to ensure that the tragic death of George Floyd serves as the start of a historic turning point in our country, galvanizing long-needed changes to repudiate racial injustice. In the coming weeks, Old Dominion will provide numerous opportunities for faculty, staff and students to engage in conversation and action around this important issue.

Let's work together to build a better and stronger bond of diversity and a more just society in the days, weeks and months ahead.


John R. Broderick


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