Justice for George Floyd

Letter from President Darryll J. Pines

Dear University Community, 

Last summer, I wrote to the campus to describe my anguish after watching the video of Mr. George Floyd take his last breaths, as a police officer mercilessly knelt on his neck. Many months later, our nation has been reliving this pain as we watched the trial play out in Minneapolis.

Despite overwhelming video evidence, many of us wrung our hands and expressed concerns or skepticism about what the outcome may be. We did this because our nation has a difficult history to reconcile when race intersects with the criminal justice system. Today, Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges and found guilty in the murder of Mr. George Floyd. 

In the aftermath of the trial verdict in Minneapolis, the university remains focused on supporting our community as we grapple with social injustice in our country. We continue to honor the legacies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright and others who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement, and continue to demand justice.  

Change in our state and our community 
I also want to find reasons to have optimism as we look ahead. I am encouraged by the historic police accountability measures recently enacted by the Maryland state legislature. Hailed as transparent and citizen-centric, state lawmakers have said that our state will ensure that the rights of officers will not be held above the citizens they have sworn to protect.

As we see progress in our state, many of us look to effect change in our surrounding communities. Our University of Maryland Police Department echoes our university values and commitment to the safety of our campus community, and UMPD has served as a partner as our community considers changes to community policing. The Department will continue to prioritize implicit bias training for all of its officers. Additionally, the Task Force for Community Policing asks university community members to share their opinions about policing on our campus and beyond. Please email communityfeedback@umd.edu to share your thoughts, concerns and ideas with the task force. 

Resources and spaces to gather 
I would like to remind you that there are resources available to our community to offer support through the UMD Counseling Center. The murder of George Floyd has deeply impacted us all, and throughout the trial, we have confronted many painful truths. Please consider joining one of the following campus events:

Drop-in Space with BISS and Stamp for Community Support

Nyumburu NewsBreak

Drop-in Space with MICA for Community Support 

Open Dialogue with the School of Public Health

The Circle: Black Healing

In Solidarity,

Darryll J. Pines

 

 

Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland
He/Him/His

Twitter: @President_Pines
Instagram: @President_Pines

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