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From the Dean

Confronting Racism with Education and Action

Story by
Robert Stacey, Dean

Many Americans have been rightly appalled by recent acts of violence against Black people. Yet the racism from which it stems is not new. It arrived on this continent with the first Europeans 500 years ago and never departed. The consequences have been brought forcibly to our attention yet again by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black men and women as well as people from all communities of color. The list of victims stretches back centuries. 

Much of the work required to address this systemic crisis cannot be done quickly.  But it must be done, and the College of Arts and Sciences must engage in that effort. The resources in this newsletter provide a snapshot of some of the work being done by many in the College and at the UW, with the realization that we need to do more.

This is our responsibility as engaged members of society. It is past time to get to work.

As the academic core of the University, the College prepares students to become educated and engaged members of society, which requires understanding and acknowledging racial injustice. Diversity and equity have been an important part of the Arts & Sciences curriculum for many years. Our faculty are involved in research on the causes and far-reaching implications of structural and systemic racism. They have founded the Center for Communication, Difference & Equity, the Center for Human Rights, and other centers that work toward change, and have involved students in their work. Through all this, students come to appreciate the importance of perspectives other than their own. They learn to listen, and to take action.

Now more than ever, we all need to listen and act with introspection and intention, especially those of us raised with privilege. We must acknowledge and confront inequities in our society with action and change. This is our responsibility as engaged members of society. It is past time to get to work.