Today’s Historic Verdict
Dear Albright community,
Tonight, our focus turns to the verdict returned on the George Floyd trial. From the initial and tragic event, we have seen the video of a dying Black man repeat “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. During this trial, we have seen this video juxtaposed with defense attorneys remarking that the officer in charge was “justified.” Just hearing this defense in words raises harsh and extreme emotions. Our hearts go out to George Floyd’s family and friends. We are grateful for the work of the brave jurors as the verdict is in on the George Floyd trial. Now the difficult work of determining appropriate sentences will begin.
For the African-American members of our community, this trial is truly traumatic. Daily, our Black and Brown community members live in fear of the police and experience the societal effects of racism. The daily news from this trial has brought forth the emotional memories of trials that have returned not-guilty verdicts. These experiences are emotionally exhausting for members of our community.
Throughout our country, countless unspeakable acts of systemic discrimination, ignorance, intolerance, and violence continue daily. Today, with this verdict of guilty on all counts, we find hope in moving forward. And still, we must continue to find better ways to eliminate the systemic racial barriers that exist at Albright and throughout our country. Today is one small step, and we commit to moving forward together.
Albright’s first institutional priority is to create a thriving, inclusive and fully participating community. So, today, we commit again to talking and listening. Let’s use this moment to talk about race and ethnicity across the many and diverse groups within our community. Reach out to each other, to your coaches, advisers, faculty members, mentors. Take advantage of the opportunity to join Chaplain Ibi’s next open discussion on racial healing and reconciliation, Students Talking about Race, which takes place April 26.
I encourage each of you, whether during classes or one-on-one with a friend or colleague or in groups, to talk, listen and support one another, and to do so with a commitment to Albright’s Expression Statement – “You can disagree. You can’t disrespect.”
Our mission as an institution comprised of a diverse community of learners, has never been clearer. It is our responsibility as a college, as a community, and as people, to stand together in the face of hatred and bias, to fight ignorance, intolerance and white supremacy, to say no to apathy and indifference, to speak out, and to offer profound compassion for all who live in fear because the color of their skin, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual identify makes them a target of hate.
Many are available to support you. please reach out. If you wish to march, please contact public safety at 610-921-7670, so that we can support your effort. Our chaplains are available to talk, provide guidance and direction, or simply to listen if you need to express your feelings. They may be reached at:
- Rev. Dr. Mel Sensenig, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rev. Ibrahim Bangura, email@example.com
Students may also contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center at 610-921-7532, and employees may reach out to Albright’s Employee Assistance Program.
Let us stand together and work to create a world where the dream of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King becomes a reality. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Today, with this historic verdict, we begin the long and important process of making our entire justice system equitable for all persons.
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry