A Message from President Gregory Woodward
June 1, 2020
Dear University of Hartford Alumni,
I write to you with sadness, anger, and concern—and with hope that you are safe. Our families, communities, nation, and world are being challenged in extraordinary ways. We are seeing anguish and unrest resulting from systemic racism, implicit bias, and hatred, spilling out into streets across the country. The deep-rooted history of these truths is real and they are felt every day by millions of black people.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey. These names are now added to those of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and many others whose names are known to many of you and those that are not. We, as a community, have a responsibility to them—and to each other—to do better.
The protests across the nation occur as we all continue to be challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic that is causing loss of life, loss of employment, and the loss of a sense of security for all Americans; yet, it is a pandemic that has disproportionately affected the African American and Latino populations. This fact adds to the anger and frustration, and shines a light on yet another issue that must be addressed in seeking equality and justice for all.
Your commitment to the University, to the power of education, and to the support of one another during this time is necessary. Our campus is proudly enriched by its diversity and engagement in shared values. We are committed to leveraging the expertise of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners to do more. We must look beyond our own knowledge and experiences to learn to understand the broader world and all of its people. Here, it is our responsibility to ask big questions and lead hard conversations, even when that’s uncomfortable.
I know many of you are suffering in ways I cannot imagine. It is painful to think that it was 55 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King said, “How long will justice be crucified and truth be buried?” as the Montgomery to Selma March ended. Nevertheless, we must remember that he answered his own question saying, “Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Let us all be hopeful that the end of that arc is finally near and that justice will soon prevail.
We are committed to being a part of that progress to justice. I hope you share that goal and will join us in working to demand equity and justice for all people, while continuing to care for and support one another.