I wanted to write to you today in response to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Today’s verdict is certain to stoke a myriad of feelings, and its impact will be felt both acutely and broadly by members of our community. While today’s verdict may have brought some justice to one horrific crime, it is clear that racism in America remains tragically unresolved.
The trial is just one among many incidents that highlight the unconscionable injustices that face Black Americans each and every day. The issues spotlighted are systemic; they did not begin with George Floyd’s murder, and they do not end with this verdict. It is my hope that today’s ruling is one step forward in the ever-present journey toward racial equality.
It is also my hope that today’s verdict compels each of us to re-examine our own actions, as individuals and as an institution, and the extent to which we can help end the cycle of marginalization and discrimination in society. Business schools – and certainly businesses more broadly – have an inherent responsibility and unique role to play in this endeavor by serving as catalysts of systemic solutions.
As you reflect on today, my message to you is this: the School is committed to doing its part. And I’ll be the first to admit that, despite our best efforts, we will not always get everything right, but it is incumbent on us to come together and work together if we are to have any chance of vanquishing the attributes that allow hate and discrimination to pervade in our society.
To the Black members of our community, and those who are daily affected by systemic injustice, I cannot begin to imagine the exact ways this trial and corresponding verdict affects you. I want you to know that your CBS community is here for you in any way possible.
We are planning many more discussions to advance our critical work. To start, the DEI Initiative and the Office of Student Affairs are working together to arrange a Community Reflection to take place later this week, which will be an opportunity for any member of our community to join together in discussion and examination. More details will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, my door is always open.