Amid the nationwide protests and conversations on race after George Floyd’s death, the Central State University of Board of Trustees is calling on the campus community to “dig deep and explode with determination.”
In a letter, Board of Trustees president Mark Hatcher denounced police killings of black people, and said students should use this time for self-reflection, as Floyd’s death has sparked a movement that could change society.
“Standing in opposition of racism and oppression of black men and women is innate and in our DNA,” Hatcher wrote in the letter. “Our hearts certainly cry out for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbrey, Breanna Taylor and all those who have perished as a result of police brutality otherwise known as murder. The question for us all at this moment in time is how should we move forward? Be determined.”
Related: Incoming CSU president says he stand in solidarity with those fighting for justice
Hatcher’s letter came a day after in-coming CSU President Jack Thomas wrote a note to the community saying he stands in solidarity with those who are advocating for criminal justice reform and better race relations.
The national protests, which have spilled over in parts of the world, started about two weeks ago after Minneapolis Police Officer Chauvin planted his knees on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, although he was in handcuffs. Chauvin and three other officers who helped restrain Floyd have been charged with murder.
Slain Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the CSU graduating class of 1958, Hatcher wrote. In his remarks, King said, “It is a great time to be alive. You are graduating at a time of the dying of an old world and the birth of a new one.”
Those words were uttered as a dream deferred, Hatcher wrote. But everyone must now “explode with determination” and carry that dream to fruition.
For their part, the Board of Trustees must secure funding that will improve campus facilities while also reducing students’ economic burden, he wrote. The board must also challenge corporations and politicians who say they stand with the black community and Black Lives Matter to provide economic support and workforce opportunities to CSU and its students.
Additional coverage: How did we get here? Experts: Long history of racial injustice in U.S.
In addition, students must arrive on campus this fall with a purpose to take responsibility for themselves and the outcomes they seek, Hatcher wrote.
“Now is the time to push yourself academically like never before,” he said. “Take advantage of this time of social distancing to be introspective and arrive on campus this fall determined to work harder than you ever did before. It is your responsibility to be prepared when opportunity knocks on your door, and it is coming. You should also look to support one another and collectively make your voices heard.”
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