A message from Dan Brown, SEFS Director, on June 1, 2020: 

Dear SEFS Community,

I’m reflecting at the end of a long weekend after a long week. This has been a very challenging quarter for all of us, as we’ve adapted our teaching, learning, and research to carry on in some fashion in the midst of a global pandemic. So many are struggling to balance the important work we do with our obligations to our families, our health, and our communities. I remain in awe of everything you’ve been able to accomplish and applaud you in your work.

Just as the pandemic has had disproportionate impacts on communities of color, based on structural inequities in our society, the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd remind us of the physical and emotional toll of violence that falls most heavily on the Black members of our community. These are particularly disturbing reminders of the institutionalized violence that affects our Black colleagues, students, family, and friends every day. The events in Seattle and other cities around the country have been disturbing for all of us to watch. This is a good time to remind ourselves of our responsibilities as an intellectual community, whose mission is to address complex social-environmental and natural resource challenges, that support and protection for all members of our community is key to our collective success.

At this time, I am reminded of the importance of the work we are doing, but also of the distance we have yet to travel, to become a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community for all. We are committed to that work, stand in support of members of our community who are hurting at this time, and will redouble our efforts to acknowledge and address how structural inequities in our society affect all of our work.

To take immediate steps, we will be doing two things this week. First, we will be sharing resources each day that you can turn to for support during this time, and that celebrate and support diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Second, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is looking for opportunities for us to come together to discuss and process these events. Look for messages from the co-chairs, Sarah Converse and Brian Harvey, as these plans come together. Feel free to reach out to them or me if you have suggestions.

Dan Brown

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