Martha Lynn Turner, Associate Director, The Office for International Students and Scholars
Mark Kamimura-Jimenez, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion
We are writing you to follow-up on the Chancellor’s recent email on racial equality and justice. The United States is in the midst of a difficult time as we grapple with violence by police against Black Americans and the protests in response. Many of us are mourning George Floyd, a Black man who was killed under police custody on May 25. In recent days, many Americans of all races have been energized to protest peacefully throughout the country. We have also witnessed expressions of pain and anger and intense state responses that have contributed to more violence.
As international students, it can be confusing and emotional to watch these events unfold. It may also be difficult to put current events into the historical context of the U.S. Some of our international students have become very knowledgeable about race in the U.S. and have even become advocates for racial change in the U.S. However, most students have not had the time to learn about the Black experience and their long struggle for racial justice and equity in the U.S.
In these times, we are given opportunities to demand change and come together to work to improve the conditions of racial equity. We also recognize that international students often bring new and different worldviews to this moment, having come from other countries, cultures and lived experiences. In the U.S., like in many other countries, we lean into healing spaces, and engage in meaningful dialogue to both understand and support each other. Considering all that is unfolding here in St. Louis and across the country, we would like to invite you to participate in a virtual dialogue hosted by the Office for International Students and Scholars titled, “Understanding the U.S. Context of Current Political Protests in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death” on Tuesday, June 9, 3-4:30pm. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-context-of-political-protests-in-the-wake-of-george-floyds-death-tickets-108123747038. We also invite you to participate in the virtual vigil, “Ring Their Names: George Floyd, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, the named, and those names and stories unknown” on Friday, June 5, 11:30-12pm join via Zoom.
We understand that you, like us, are experiencing the stress of both a pandemic as well as political upheaval in the same space and time. Please know that OISS is here and available for virtual “walk-in” appointments to discuss your feelings and concerns during this difficult time. In addition, Habif Health and Wellness Center continues to provide support to students through virtual counseling appointments.
Statement from Habif Health and Wellness
The Habif Health and Wellness Center stands with the rest of Washington University in St. Louis in expressing our sorrow, compassion, and righteous indignation on behalf of all those affected by the most recent acts of racialized violence in our country.
We stand with the Washington University community in unequivocally condemning these acts. We pledge to acknowledge, examine and address the sort of systemic inequities that lead to and perpetuate such violence.
While these events are difficult for all of us to process, we recognize that they are particularly painful for people of color within our community. Not only are these recent events traumatic, they are also reminders of many other traumas stretching back centuries. There is a full range of normal emotions one might experience in response to these latest events, including feelings of sadness, anger, fear, frustration, helplessness, numbness or shock. Habif Mental Health Services is holding space for you at this time, whether you have been directly impacted by a traumatic event or are experiencing trauma vicariously. Please contact us if you or a friend would like support in coping with these recent events and all the emotions they evoke.