Message from the McDonnell International Scholars Academy

Dear Scholars, Leaders and Friends,

The last few months have been very painful for all of us and we hope all of you are doing okay. The ongoing violence that we are witnessing against people of color is devastating. Earlier this year, we saw a rise in discrimination against Asian citizens and Asian-Americans. Over the last few weeks, we saw terrible cases of the treatment of African-Americans.  As a diverse community, I know each of us strives for a world where every individual is treated with dignity and has justice and opportunity no matter their race, origin or identity. These are incredibly exasperating times, and we have all felt emotionally and mentally exhausted; but, action to annihilate discrimination and provide equal opportunities for all is worth the effort.

The Academy prides itself on creating a safe space for difficult conversations. Last week, the McDonnell Academy team held a dialogue about systemic racism in the U.S. and discussed how each of us navigates inequities and the impact it has had on our lives. We reaffirmed our commitment to creating “a safe space” to listen, extend empathy, and engage in dialogue and will continue to connect with one another on this difficult topic. We are also in the process of arranging a session for our community of Scholars to discuss the current racial climate in the U.S. and globally. Please stay tuned for invitations to opportunities to participate.

The separation of our community due to the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a strain on our ability to come together to support, listen to, and learn from one another. But this only makes our need to create space for engagement within our community even more urgent. To our Scholars: we realize many of you may have questions or concerns about the current challenges, and we encourage you to reach out to anyone on the Academy team to express your feelings or reactions.

Washington University is committed to activism and social justice, and our passion drives our friends and neighbors to make their voices heard in a positive and progressive way. We remain steadfast in our role in creating a constructive path forward that tackles institutionalized disparities and inequities. It is important to know that we will continue to provide an engaging and collaborative experience to build and sustain our community and our world. 

Kurt, Laura, Kristin, Angie, Carla, Latonya, Roumy