Dear campus community,
Daunte Wright joins a lengthening and disheartening list of unarmed Black people who have been killed in police custody. The time and place may be different, but the conclusion is the same: another life is taken. This loss, like others, ripples through an ocean of grieving families, friends and communities. The survivors are doomed to live with the absence of a brother, father, nephew and friend. Each day they must find a way to reconcile their memories of him with the knowledge of the terrifying final moments of his life.
The sense of unresolved trauma only deepens. Before and since George Floyd’s death 11 months ago, several others have died in custody. This is all the more striking in the wake of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. Waves of people across the nation and the world insisted that “this time was different.” However, it was not different for Daunte Wright, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor.
“Why us?” is a question that looms over so many vigils, tributes and protests. Burdened with anger, frustration and sadness, survivors and traumatized communities have no choice but to bear witness against injustice; declaring the names of victims while demanding the right to live and thrive in this country.
“Who will end this?” There is only one answer: we must be in this together. All of us.
UCI recognizes and responds to anti-Blackness as an existential threat to our mission as a public research university. Please join me in linking your future to the success of Black students, faculty and staff as well as alumni and communities served by UCI.
Douglas M. Haynes, Ph.D. (Pronouns: he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
Director, ADVANCE Program
Professor of History