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With a Heavy Heart

Dear Members of the Clark Community,

It is with a heavy heart that we mourn another senseless killing of a black man at the hands of law enforcement, this time in a Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright, a twenty year old unarmed black man, was shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer.

The killing of Daunte Wright is especially painful in light of the collective trauma being relived as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer responsible for the death of George Floyd, is underway. The deep pain and suffering of black communities, people of color, and others who have suffered from police brutality is a deep and festering wound rooted in racialized injustice that we all must acknowledge if we are ever to begin to heal.

Recognizing the ongoing pain and trauma experienced by black and African American members of our community surrounding issues of police brutality is critical grounding and context for our own campus-based work related to campus safety. I realize my recent call for mutual respect of all members of our community needed this greater context to be understood as I had intended it. We will only succeed in our own current efforts around safety and security and campus climate by doing the necessary work of acknowledging and understanding this pain and suffering. We must support the hard work of healing particularly within and among our black, indigenous and other communities of color, and we must embark upon a process that enables us to establish trust within our community as we strive to become even more fully the socially just community we say we are and need to be.

In the coming days, we will support affinity spaces for processing the trauma of the killing of Daunte Wright, George Floyd, and countless others who have needlessly died at the hands of police violence. Please know that I see your pain; and I hear you when you say that we can do better to support our communities of color. We can do better; we will be better.


David B. Fithian ’87