From Kevin’s Desk: Together We Stand (6/5/2020)

Dear Colleagues:

Like so many of you, I am profoundly distressed by the acts of violence that continue to take the lives of African Americans. I want to echo the words of President Schlissel and many others on our campus that condemn these brutal acts of racism.  I want to acknowledge the pain, fear and anger that so many in our community are experiencing. As a society and a community, we simply must do better.

Over the last week, I have listened with deep sadness to the experiences of my African-American colleagues, and read the poignant piece written by our Chief Diversity Officer Rob Sellers.  As a white man, I cannot know what it feels like to be devalued, dehumanized or targeted because of my race. And while I feel compassion and outrage, I cannot truly understand the pain and exhaustion caused by the continuous experience of prejudice. I pledge to do whatever I can to fight against injustice and create meaningful, lasting change – and I hope you will join me.

I am committed to our values of diversity, equity and inclusion and believe that they are inextricably linked to our work to create a positive organization. You cannot create a positive work environment that is not also diverse, equitable and inclusive. I also believe you cannot truly make progress on DEI without improving the day-to-day work experience of our staff. It is why we have chosen nine metrics from the University’s Climate Survey to measure progress on our culture goals over time.

You have my commitment that we will do better, we will continue to create change and we will continue to work to ensure that every staff member in B&F, regardless of race or position, knows that they matter, feels they belong and is afforded an equal opportunity to succeed. If you have ideas about how we can meet these objectives, I invite you to send me an email with your input.

If you would like to learn more about how you can fight racial injustice please consider signing up for the U-M Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Workplace group, where many resources are shared. You can also talk with your local B&F Diversity Working Group member(s) to see how you can support DEI efforts in your local department.

In addition, if you have experienced bias at work, please see the list of resources on our B&F website. If you are in need of support, MHealthy and UHR offer a number of mental health resources on their webpage that are free of charge for all university employees.

Thank you for standing together to uphold our university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

With much appreciation and gratitude,