Division News & Statements

Message from President Mantella: Partners in Action Against Racism

May 30, 2020

Dear Grand Valley Community,

Throughout this pandemic, we have been able to witness the best that people have to offer – and some of the worst. While our campus has pulled together to demonstrate tremendous care for one another and the larger community, the pandemic has magnified numerous acts of racism. Not only has xenophobia come to the forefront of our society, but we continue to witness racism through acts of violence directed at people of color.

The tragic incidents that happened in Minneapolis, New York, Georgia, Tallahassee, and other places around the country are acts of violence against the Black community that cannot be tolerated. As we move forward, this and all forms of racialized violence must be stopped as we work to be a more just community.

All forms of racism, from bias and micro-aggressions to racialized violence, create an undue weight on our faculty, staff, and students of color. As such, there is a direct need to continue to educate and act on our values of inclusion and equity. We must speak up against bias and confront hatred. This work cannot fall only on the shoulders of our colleagues and students of color.

As a historically white institution, we must teach what it means to be more than allies in thought but truly partners in action. For some this may mean holding accountable those who commit violence, peacefully working on cultural and institutional changes, engaging in self-education, sharing your knowledge with others, and above all, honoring the voices of those who are rightly aggrieved.

The Grand Valley mission of shaping lives, professions, and societies is a direct invitation for us to be engaged. We are steadfast in our commitment to making certain this work is embedded throughout the university and elevated as we forge ahead.

Sincerely,

Philomena V. Mantella, President

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