April 15, 2021

Friends—

Here we are once again. Another Black man, Daunte Wright, has been shot at the hands of police. And this time, I have no words of comfort for you, I have no words to describe the outrage that I am feeling. I do not believe that anything I say at this time would change the dynamics that we are witnessing across the country. Change will only come through radical transformation. 

I can tell you that as the mother of a 21-year-old young Black man, it brings me to tears as I think about getting that call. What will I say to him that would save his life? What words can I tell him to utter,  so that others see his total humanity, his total gentleness, his total care and love of others? What words would help others see him the way I see him? I have no words! Yes, my transference is off the chart, and I recognize that, but I want you all to live in this space with me, everyday. I want you all to imagine receiving that phone call from your child as Daunte and George Floyd called out for their mothers at the time of their death at the hands of police. 

Ibram Kendi’s virtual visit to OSU impressed upon me one simple truth. We need to move from a U.S.-centric perspective, to a global perspective. This perspective, Kendi believes, provides insight into the ways in which all Americans are truly hurting on almost every dimension of life; healthcare, gun violence, obesity, you name it. But it is this constant within group quest for white supremacy—supremacy in general—that we’ve been fighting since the dawn of this country and keeps us locked in this struggle. 

Radical transformation is called for and I hold us all accountable. 

 

Charlene Alexander, Ph.D.

Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer

Oregon State University