By Jacquie Moloney
We are not together in person, but we must rise with one united voice to call out and condemn the racism and targeted racial violence happening nationwide where senseless acts of excessive force and aggression have resulted in death, fear and suffering.
The UMass Lowell community stands in solidarity with communities across the country to condemn the killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Sadly, these are just some of the most recent names added to a generations-long list of victims of targeted racial violence and systematic racism in this country.
The strength of the River Hawk community exists thanks to the merger of different cultures, beliefs and backgrounds forged together. I know you join me in refusing to accept dehumanizing, insensitive and racist language, whether it comes from our neighbors or our leaders. We must initiate reform and retraining in institutions resistant or hostile to best practices in modern community policing and citizen engagement.
These cannot just be words. This is a time for strong and peaceful action – as was witnessed in our city Saturday night when more than 300 people, many from our own community, gathered for a vigil to mourn and protest these tragedies. Our leaders, at all levels of government and across every organization, need to find the courage necessary to stand up against the voices and intransigence of the status quo.
The images of these tragic deaths have been devastating. But I’ve also seen so much hope for the future as so many from all backgrounds join together to peacefully demand the real and permanent change that this nation’s ideals require.