Dear GTPE Community,
Over the last several days and weeks, there has much to witness and feel regarding the tragedies taking place in our country. My heart, our hearts, mourn the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and the others before them, which are shocking and senseless killings. These and other awful events demonstrate the deep flaws in our society, especially in regard to our fellow Black Americans. I am heartbroken, disappointed, and upset on so many levels. What I saw regarding the deaths of fellow humans is wrong.
What does this situation and associated events mean for us? As an Institution of higher education, with our collective values, we have a responsibility to stand up for intolerance and to speak out against hatred and racism. We, Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) and Georgia Tech, have explicitly strived for an inclusive and diverse environment. While we cannot control the world beyond our own actions, we can focus on things we can do to make us better. Now is not the time to ignore the wrongs in our society.
Even if it is difficult, we are called to work to understand the experiences of our colleagues, neighbors, and community. We must have conversations that allow all of us to discuss the current events. We must have empathy and compassion. We must work to better know and trust each other. It is essential that we identify ways to support one other and actively seek additional ways to serve and connect to others.
All of us have human feelings, but not all of us share the same experiences, nor have the same fears and concerns. Worry, fear, frustration, anger, grief, and perseverance – these are some of the feelings I have seen and heard from those around me. I care deeply about all of us who work at GTPE and finding answers to make us all better. We, at GTPE, have collectively decided on values, including the value of being diverse and inclusive. We can lean on this commitment to guide our behaviors, and together we can work through these intensely painful tragedies.
Many people, including friends and colleagues, are in particular pain. I encourage you to listen intently to your co-workers and neighbors. Let them know of your support. I acknowledge the pain and disillusionment that many of us, and myself, are experiencing.
My thoughts and prayers are with the entire community as we work together to end racism, violence, and inequality.
Nelson C. Baker, Ph.D.
Dean, Professional Education
Georgia Institute of Technology