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Standing in Community

Re: Standing in Community

To: All faculty, staff and students

April 16, 2021


Dear Campus Community,  

I recently wrote to you to acknowledge and condemn the violence against our Asian American and Pacific Islander community. I now find myself in the same position of continuing to write against hate and it is incredibly painful. As we await the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, we see the pervasiveness of racial violence in the US at the hands of police. We continue to witness the senseless loss of lives: Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old who was killed less than 20 miles from where the murder of George Floyd took place, Anthony Thompson Jr, a 17-year-old at his school in East Tennessee, Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old with his hands up in Chicago, and countless others whose names may not have reached us, but whose lives mark too many lost.  

As President Drake mentioned in his April 13th statement, “Sunday’s killing of Daunte Wright is yet another senseless tragedy that tears at our hearts and reopens deep wounds. We grieve for and with his family and loved ones.” We at the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strongly condemn these continued acts of violence experienced by our Black and African American communities at the hands of law enforcement. We must come together as a UC Merced community and a broader society to help bring an end to systemic racism and put a stop to the continued murder of unarmed Black and Brown individuals. It is vital that we recognize and acknowledge the emotional taxation and re-traumatization induced by the simultaneous occurrence of this trial and murders of Daunte Wright, Anthony Thompson Jr, and Adam Toledo.  

These continued tragedies call for us to engage in the transformative work of equity and justice as we come together to stand in solidarity with our Black, Latinx and Asian American communities. We are in the process of undertaking critical work towards the implementation of our Valuing Black Lives Initiatives, this being one of many steps that must be taken in order to address anti-Black racism as it permeates through our society. Please visit our website for a list of resources we have curated, including resources for mental healthanti-racism, and how to be an ally.  

To ensure that UC Merced is a safe and supportive environment for all, we must take a united stand against racial violence and work collectively to end systemic racism. There is just no other way, but through our collective recognition of the humanity in all of us and the dignity we each deserve.   


Always with you, 

Dania Matos, J.D. 

Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer