Dear Colleagues, Students, and Friends,
This week, as the United States passed the grim milestone of 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus, the horrifying death of George Floyd has drawn national attention to fundamental and systematic disparities of justice in our nation. The events in Minneapolis have occurred on the heels of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the shooting of Breonna Taylor and in the context of the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color, including here in Durham. For many people at Duke and elsewhere, the pain, trauma and sense of hopelessness is overwhelming.
Every day, throughout our country, African American and other marginalized communities have their safety and dignity threatened—in their places of work, in public spaces, and in their homes and neighborhoods. This ongoing history of structural and sustained racism is a fundamental and deeply distressing injustice, here as elsewhere.
But we as a university must do more than recognize and grieve these circumstances; we must work together to change them. In our Duke statement of values, we affirm our commitment to trust, respect, and inclusion. In that spirit, Duke University will continue the work of addressing generations of racism and injustice, of seeking ways to approach one another with respect, and of building communities that are truly safe, supportive, and inclusive for all.
My very best wishes to the entire Duke family in this troubling time.
Vincent E. Price