A message from President Drake on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder
President Drake sent the message below to all UCOP staff on May 24, 2021.
Tomorrow marks one year since the murder of George Floyd. We pause to reflect on and honor his memory, and the countless others who have been maimed or killed by forces of oppression and bigotry during our nation’s long history. The pernicious effects of racism have altered the course of our country from before its founding, and persist in ways large and small to this very day.
This past year in particular — with international public reckoning over racial injustice, and the disproportionate public health and economic impacts of the pandemic on people of color — leaves us keenly aware of the challenges we face in returning to a forever altered world. It also reminds us of the requirement that we engage our best selves in the work necessary to create a better, more respectful, more inclusive tomorrow.
The solutions to the structural flaws that plague our nation will require us to work collectively to imagine, and then create, the future we all deserve. We long to be that place, to quote the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.” A place where we can all realize our full human potential.
As a university community, we can do our part to exemplify best practices and commit ourselves to lead. I applaud the many actions taken by people across the University, from anti-racism work to efforts to address basic needs and much more. So many of our students, faculty, and staff have devoted themselves to this effort, and are working every day to put the University of California on a better path forward. Our work is far from finished; our efforts will not be in vain.
Michael V. Drake
President, University of California