Thoughts about the recent racial violence

June 2, 2020

Dear OCIO/IST friends,

I'm writing to you today because I must speak out and add my voice to the many other voices across our institution and our country condemning the racist, violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breona Taylor, and George Floyd. It is important to name them and to acknowledge that there are so many others that fill both our recent memory and our country's history. These events have left me angry, frustrated, sick to my core, and filled with sadness and grief. I grieve for their families and I grieve for our country and our seeming inability to confront the systemic institutionalized racism that pervades our society and continues to perpetuate inequality -- the same inequality that we are seeing in the impact of COVID-19 as the marginalized in our society continue to suffer the disease and death at higher rates.  

I hope you had a chance to see Chancellor Christ’s message from last Friday, which to me embodies the kind of institution we work for. I am here at Berkeley because I strongly believe in our mission of equity and access for all and I know that that is why many of you are here too. We believe that Berkeley is a place that fights for social justice and that by being part of this community we are choosing to support that work with our own hard work. The Chancellor pointed to our Principles of Community. I wanted to point to two that have helped me think about how to respond. The first, “we affirm the dignity of all individuals and strive to uphold a just community in which discrimination and hate are not tolerated.” This is a statement of our shared values around what we believe. The second is a call to action, “we believe that active participation and leadership in addressing the most pressing issues facing our local and global communities are central to our educational mission.” I am asking that all of us consider what we can do to actively participate in the change that is so long overdue to address the problem of institutionalized racism. 

I also want to let you know that the leadership of our organization, including the entire Director team, is deeply affected by this and we are actively discussing ways to help our OCIO/IST community grapple with these events and their impact. Please feel free to reach out to any of us if you are in need of help, or want to talk. The Action Team also met yesterday and while we were all processing what is happening the group continues to be committed to supporting change within our own organization. If you have thoughts or ideas, please email ist-action-team@berkeley.edu.

In closing, I want to urge you to take the space you need to ensure that you are supported and that you are caring for yourselves. 

With continued hope for the future,

Jenn

Jenn Stringer, Deputy Chief Information Officer & Assistant Vice Chancellor IT