A Letter from the Department Head

Dear Colleagues,

As a community, we mourn the loss of George Floyd, brutally killed in broad daylight by Minneapolis police officers, by those whose function it is to serve and protect our community. The past two weeks have brought forth a mixture of emotions in our community, state, and nation as we collectively grieve and take action over the horrific murder of George Floyd. We believe as a public institution we must speak out against the violence and injustices that disproportionately affect the lives of black, indigenous, and people of color.

Our department and college have historically, and continue to have, an underrepresentation of faculty, staff, and students of color; an issue that similar academic departments throughout the nation face, reflecting and reinforcing historical biases in agricultural and horticultural sciences. In order to begin healing, we must confront these biases and actively work towards dismantling the barriers we ourselves have created for minorities in the horticultural fields.

The question then is what can we DO? I share this powerful reading by Shonda Rhimes:

some are posting social media

some are protesting in the streets

some are donating silently

some are educating themselves

some are having tough conversations with friends and family

a revolution has many lanes - be kind to yourself and to

others who are traveling in the same direction

just keep your foot on the gas

For immediate impact, if you have the ability to donate, there are many organizations working within our communities: Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Visions, Reclaim the Block, Northstar Health Collective, Twin Cities Rebuild for the Future Fund or the group of your choice.

If you are interested in additional resources this link to anti-racism resources from CFANS Diversity Community of Practice or additional resources from the UM Office of Equity and Diversity.

Departmental Diversity and Inclusion statement: We strive to build a department valuing the diversity of experiences in the communities we serve through our research, teaching, and outreach. We act to foster a climate of equality by respecting one another. Each member of our department acknowledges and values the richness of our diversity and the communities we serve through our mission. We continue to grow in our understanding, mutual respect, and practice of inclusive behaviors.

As we continue through this difficult, sad time in our history, let us focus on what each of us can do to create a better, more just future for everyone.

Emily Hoover

Department Head

June 5, 2020

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