Like many across the country and from across the globe, I’ve been reflecting on the murder of George Floyd and the tensions that have erupted across the country over the past two days. As a Black man, I have experienced several unfortunate incidents with police throughout my life and I realize that George Floyd could have been me. I understand what so many of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are experiencing now, because I live with that same reality.
And as we’ve seen with the murders of Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson at the hands of police, this problem is not endemic to African American males. African American women also confront the threat of police brutality and misconduct on a regular basis. My wife, Thais Bass-Moore, often talks about her negative experiences with the LAPD while an undergraduate student at UCLA. As parents of three teenagers, we repeatedly have “the talk” with our children so that they can be prepared when they are confronted by unethical police officers. These conversations are never easy.
As someone who is deeply invested in the lives of UT undergraduates, I know that you are hurting. So am I. Many of you are passionately devoted to social justice and I want to encourage you not to give up; our community and our nation need you. As we prepare to return to campus for Fall 2020 please understand that The University of Texas at Austin is a better place because many of you believe strongly that your school can be a more inclusive environment. I miss seeing all of you on campus and I am looking forward to having many of you in my class this fall where we engage deeply on these topics. If I can be of any help to you over the summer please do not hesitate to reach out.
Dr. Leonard N. Moore
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
George W. Littlefield Professor of American History