Nothing More Important Than Action
Hello School of Communication Studies Students,
I am writing because like me, you too may be infuriated by the senseless murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others. The hatred, violence, and injustice on display over the past few weeks crystalized for me how much work needs to be done, yet I am hopeful.
We are witnessing, again, profound issues of racial inequality even as we experience a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting the African American community. These things underscore the dangers of systemic racism and they reinforce the urgency for serious, meaningful reform across our social systems — whether that be reform in policing, heathcare, economic opportunity and more.
I have never personally experienced racism, but some of us don’t have that same privilege. To our African American students, I recognize you are impacted by racism in ways the rest of us are not. We may be going through the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat. While there is ample room for despair, please know that your school stands with you and supports you.
Great strife inspires great change. My hope is that you will persist and meet these challenges. The country needs communication specialists like you with an ability to talk about difficult subjects; and nothing is harder than conversations about racism. As communication specialists you can use your lived experiences and skills to create a place where all races, religions, genders, cultures, and social classes can create safe spaces to speak freely, ask questions, wonder, debate, and understand how to break cycles of oppression.
Dialogue matters. Debate matters. Conversation matters. But nothing is more important than action. Our School commits to joining Kent State University in a serious examination of policies and practices that inadvertently perpetuate inequity. We also know that we must work hard to end practices, including microaggressions, that too often go unexamined and unaddressed. We need your voice in understanding these issues; we commit to listening deeply. We must all do our part.
As a proud alum of this Communication Studies program, I stand with you as we seek ways to work toward social justice and equality.
For links to resources and additional messages from Dean Amy Reynolds and Diversity Director AJ Leu, please visit https://www.kent.edu/cci/justice.
Take care of each other.
Be well, stay well,
Elizabeth Graham Director, Ph.D.
School of Communication Studies