I reach out to you now because I have already heard from some community members that today’s verdict in the criminal case of the State of Minnesota v. Officer Derek Michael Chauvin (who was convicted of unlawfully killing Mr. George Floyd almost a year ago) is painfully triggering. I am a mother of a Black man and the child of a police officer, yet I reach out to you today as a community member. I do so with hope that as this country grapples with its historical ills, it does so that it can grow and continue to strive for that “more perfect union.” Unlike the ideals of our justice system, we are not blind or motivated solely by fact. As each of us looks for space and understanding, please note that we are a community of makers and builders whose work and mission are to interrogate, create, and inspire. We are human in our existence and must seek to care for, protect and uplift each other in this time of continued crisis.
If we take our cue from Ms. Beulah Mae Donald (the mother of Michael Donald murdered in Mobile, Ala., in 1981) we know that while justice was served, the outcome is way more complicated than winning or losing. It feels much the same way today, so if you don’t feel a sense of relief by the guilty verdict in this case, you are not alone. We all know that there is much work in social justice ahead for our country, our communities, and even right here at CalArts. As such, I implore you to take care of yourselves and those around you. If you are not sure how to do that please, take advantage of the resources for students, faculty, and staff. Students may access support through Protocall - 24/7 Counseling line at 855-364-7981 to find counseling resources online. Faculty and staff can access counseling services through the CalArts Employee Assistance Program (EAP), serviced by Anthem Blue Cross EAP. You may call them at 800-999-7222 (our program name: CIA).
Tonight as you reflect and remember, reach out to friends, family, and those who lift you up.
Eva M. Graham, EdD
Institute Diversity Officer