Messages from the President

George Floyd and the Arc of the Moral Universe

George Floyd and the Arc of the Moral Universe

Dear UMPI Community,

On March 31, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated: “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

Yesterday, April 20, 2021, a diverse jury in Minneapolis, comprised of seven women and five men, individuals who identified as white, Black, and multi-racial, from their 20s into their 50s, unanimously found the former officer who killed George Floyd on Memorial Day, 2020 guilty on all counts.

The verdict underscores the vital import of the application of justice but it represents only the very beginnings of the arc that Dr. King described.  Its acknowledgement of the tragic injustice suffered by George Floyd must serve as a reminder of the vast divisions within our society, between those who are insulated from oppression and those who face it every waking hour, ones further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.   Now, more than ever, we need to hear those who experience this injustice and identify the work in which we must all participate to forge not just greater equity and inclusion but a pervasive sense of justice to which we all have recourse.  To that end, I invite everyone within the extended UMPI community to the UMS TRANSFORMS session advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on Friday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

As noted by Chancellor Malloy yesterday, only by naming and engaging the inequity that individuals within our own communities suffer—whether from systemic racism, gender or religious or ethnic stereotypes, or through inaccessibility to our services and facilities—can we begin to answer Dr. King’s call for a moral universe that embraces us all.

Today, we must each rededicate our efforts to making that universe a reality.