A Message of Solidarity from OMSE’s Director Dr. Christopher Lester
Dear OMSE Community:
I am consistently reminded of the ongoing historical legacy of 400+ years of systemic racism, slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, Legal Segregation and the ongoing inhumane targeting of Black citizens in 2020. As a Black male who has endured the racial profiling, systemic racism, and being labeled as dangerous, suspicious or threatening the recent critical incidents experienced by Black people feels very familiar. The recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd reminds us that there is a paradigm shift with concrete institutional change necessary right now to end racism. It is heartening to see the collective engagement of a diverse coalition of protestors demanding a transformative change for social justice, racial equality in all institutions, spaces, and systems.
We must collectively demand an elimination of the historical mindset and notion of white superiority that perpetuates the mistreatment of Black people and the resulting economic, health, educational, workplace disparities that permeate all areas of our society. The answer to the question of “When will racism end?” is now, today. The question that each individual should ask themselves is, “What am I doing now, at this very moment, to end racism?” and then take proactive, empowering action toward ending racism.
OMSE is a department whose staff is committed to advocating for our students, and supporting their ongoing personal, academic, and professional excellence, please be assured we will not be silent in the face of systemic racism. We will continue to advocate for a climate and institution that authentically proclaims Your lives matter! We have recently spoken with several of our alumni, current students, incoming students, parents and other constituents. We hear you! We see you! We stand with you! We will be hosting online social media platforms, dialogues, and message boards for you to express yourselves in affirming, supportive spaces.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I Dare to Be Powerful to use my strength in the services of my vision then becomes less and less important whether I am Afraid.
– Audre Lorde
Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Continue to be Powerful!
Dr. Christopher A. Lester, He Him, His
Director, Office of Multiethnic Student Education
University of Maryland