Statement from Kenneth R. Pugh
We are standing as a nation at a uniquely difficult, disrupting, and disorienting moment in our history. First, the unprecedented challenge of protecting our most vulnerable people from the coronavirus pandemic is testing our courage and our sense of obligation to one another. And now, as we witness the rightful shock and outrage expressed by communities of color and by all who embrace the desire for a fair, just, and moral society, to the killing of George Floyd and so many others, many of us are asking what can we do to be useful!
Indeed, I have been feeling the responsibility and the urge to communicate with all of you in our beloved Haskins community at this time but useful words are hard to find, and anyway, are of such meager means to have an impact when the situation is so big and hard to get our minds around. And yet as I hear from many of you, and from my own children, about the pain you are experiencing, and about how you want to be a force for good in this crazy time, and to stand shoulder to shoulder in support of those who have been the victims of unconscionable racism for so very long, I know that I must add my voice no matter how muted its power may be.
I want to say this: Places like Haskins, places dedicated to the still noble pursuit of knowledge and understanding despite the cynicism of a materialistic world, must be that force for good in whatever way it/we can. Whether its standing in the streets with our brothers and sisters who have been held down for too long, or by insuring that our scientific work promotes not merely the “most clever” models but also the public good in those areas where it can (e.g., education, clinical practice, and the like). How so ever each of us makes our voice heard in all this noise, remember that as a community of scholars we have the talents and the tools to be part of a better future for our nation and the world and maybe now is the time to remember that we indeed do have this power together.
I hope that you do not mind hearing words like this from a workplace director but I am first and foremost a citizen of a nation in need or moral healing. I hope that all of you are with people you love and I hope you know that you are part of a community that has, in its long history, stood for something more than selfish interests. Finally, for those feeling most unmoored by all this please know that I will do whatever I can to be here for you (and I know I speak for many others in saying this).
Be well and safe,