Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Last summer, George Floyd’s senseless murder became a rallying cry against racial injustice in America and hopefully a turning point for our country. While yesterday’s verdict is the beginning of a healing process, it will not end our collective grief completely. Indeed, we acknowledge that these events are often re-traumatizing, evoking one’s own negative experiences with law enforcement, fear for our own and our loved ones’ safety and outrage over the racism in our society.

Also, we know that so many other unjustified deaths have gone unpunished and still continue. Where guilty verdicts should be an expectation of a fair and impartial judicial system, they were not until yesterday, which was an important initial step toward justice and equity. Let us remain mindful of the Floyd family and the Minneapolis community. May they find some measure of comfort and peace.

As we try to put some of the pieces back together over the coming weeks, let us continue to support and encourage each other. For those who would like to join others in a facilitated discussion of recent events in a safe space, there will be an opportunity on Thursday, April 22 at 6 p.m. 
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We have made progress towards greater equity, diversity and inclusion over the past 10 months since we kneeled together in solidarity in the courtyard beside our iconic Egyptian Building. Still, much good work remains.

We reaffirm the sentiments articulated by President Rao, and as a school, remain committed to condemning racism and all forms of discrimination as we continue on our journey toward a more just and equitable future. We hope that this is a time for reflection and healing, for discussion in the pursuit of solutions and for taking actions toward lasting change and a better world.


Pter F. Buckley, M.D.; Dean, VCU School of Medicine; Executive vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System