We have watched the events of the past several weeks unfold with dismay and anger. The murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd recently, and others in the past, are not only tragic acts of violence and injustice against black communities, they represent the tip of the iceberg of the impact of systemic racism in this country. Recently, many have quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by saying “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”, but that arc has been very slow in our country. The protests we are seeing are in response to that very slow arc.
E pluribus unum, ‘Out of many, one,’ is found on the Great Seal of the United States and on our currency. And yet, it is all too apparent that our nation is not one. But right now, in this moment, our college has the opportunity to come together as one voice and as one community of caring. We can, and we must, stand together as one. It is no longer enough to say it or to write it; we must hold it in our heart as an undeniable truth.
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine rejects and condemns racism, race-based oppression, discrimination, violence, and systemic injustice and inequity. Individually, and as an institution, we must demand an end to the oppression and discrimination that targets black communities, to broken systems that promote power disparities, and to abuse by law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
To move toward reconciliation, we must enter the public conversation and be willing to listen deeply and with compassion and to hear the truth of experiences that do not match our own. In this moment of time, we truly need to listen to the experiences of the black community and commit to work together towards solutions.
We also acknowledge that listening alone is insufficient. We must collectively speak out against racial injustice and division. We must let all who come to our college know that we care about each other, deeply, without judgement and with all our being. If you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us. And we will stand up against that hurt.
The health and wellbeing of our community is vital and must allow us to bring our whole selves to the work and learning community. This is the work of diversity and inclusion and is the responsibility of all members of the college. We commit to continued efforts to foster this work within our college. We will use the Diversity Committee, Diversity Council, Affinity Groups, and other mechanisms to listen even more deeply to the concerns within our college and to actively work towards solutions.
Our college family is one body formed from the diversity of all of our people. Therefore, we will not be indifferent. It is our collective responsibility to assure we provide an environment where each person feels welcome, safe, valued, and can thrive. This will only occur for the black community when we extinguish systemic, longstanding and overt discrimination, racism, violence, and injustices. Change begins with each of us making an individual decision to take action.
Racial oppression should always be an emotional topic to discuss. It should always be anger-inducing. As long as racism exists to ruin the lives of countless people of color, it should be something that upsets us. But it upsets us because it exists, not because we talk about it. The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward. – Ijeoma Oluo
This statement was created by the College of Veterinary Medicine Diversity Committee:
|Mary Jo Burkhard||Sandra F. Diaz Vergara||Sue Knoblaugh|
|Julia P. Azarcon||Tarshangi Dixit||Raphael Malbrue|
|Kenneth B. Burris||Carrie Freed||Kayla M. Orso|
|Luciana Da Costa||Jocelyn Gilmore||Chanera Peck|
|Liane T. Davila-Martin||Jennifer Gonzalez||Ali Pinhasi|
|Sandra Dawkins||Daniella A. Guzman||Rachel A. Stahl|
|Jae B. Denson||Jenny Ingraham||Jocosa T. Yasenchack|
|Dubraska Diaz-Campos||Nongnuch Inpanbutr|
We are releasing it on behalf our entire college community and it has the full support of Dean Rustin Moore and the Dean’s Cabinet:
|Rustin M. Moore, DVM, PhD
|Renne Komula, Assistant Dean for Administration and Finance|
|Rich Bednarski, DVM, Chair, Department of
Veterinary Clinical Sciences
|Stefan Niewiesk, DVM, PhD, Chair, Department of Veterinary Biosciences|
|Prosper Boyaka, PhD, Incoming Interim Chair, Department of Veterinary Biosciences||Emma Read, DVM, Associate Dean for Professional Programs|
|Mary Jo Burkhard, DVM, PhD, Associate Dean of Faculty and Staff Affairs, Inclusive Diversity and Planning||Liesa Stone, DVM, Assistant Dean for External Relations and Chief Advancement Officer|
|Roger B. Fingland, DVM, Executive Associate Dean, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer||Tom Wittum, PhD, Chair, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine|
|Pat Green, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies||Karin Zuckerman, Director, Veterinary Medical Center|