Good morning college community-
The heartbreaking deaths of George Floyd, and others before him, by the hands of those who’ve taken an oath to serve and protect, are unfortunate and disturbing reminders that some among us do not enjoy the comforts of a safe and secure community. They also demonstrate that the critical and necessary work to eliminate race-based bias throughout our communities is incomplete. As stated in the message from Chancellor Sobolik below, UMSL has been engaged in this work since 2014. With progress new opportunities are revealed. Clearly, additional action is necessary.
Some of our opportunities to advance racial reconciliation are grounded within the college statement of values, “…We have an appreciation for the dignity of others and respect for the diversity that exists within our community.”; within the optometric oath, “…I WILL provide professional care for those who seek my services, with concern, with compassion and with due regard for their human rights and dignity.”; and also within the UMSL Eye Care Patient Bill of Rights.
Of course, without action, these statements are no more than platitudes. Therefore, I suggest that each of us take this opportunity to revisit those statements, listen to others who are hurting, commit ourselves to action, and to always do good when it is in our power to do so. We must stand alongside our black colleagues, to advance equal justice and reject racism, racial violence and discrimination.
I’m inspired by our faculty, staff and student colleagues who are dedicated to this important work. We are also fortunate to be within a campus community that is so committed to improving relationships throughout the Saint Louis region. In addition to the various campus resources listed below, the college of optometry wellness advisory committee serves as a safe space to explore additional action steps as we commit ourselves to the elimination of race-based bias and the provision of safety for each individual who enters within our college community. Let’s extend special consideration for our valued black faculty, staff, students and their families as these events impose a disproportionate impact upon their well-being.
Larry Davis, Dean