Dear LEDA Community,
As I begin my second week as LEDA’s new Executive Director, I wanted to reflect on this immensely challenging and uncertain time for our country and our community.
Together, we grieve the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and we are horrified by the excessive use of force on peaceful protesters in cities across the nation. We unequivocally denounce these appalling murders and condemn the police brutality and systemic racism that have plagued our country for centuries. Moreover, we stand in solidarity with the peaceful protesters who are exercising their right to demonstrate and with Black communities and racial justice organizations who seek to dismantle structural barriers that marginalize Black people.
In this turbulent time, LEDA’s immediate concern is the safety and well-being of our Scholars. Last week, we held a virtual Community Circle that provided them with a space to share and process their thoughts and questions. As we listened, we were at once heartbroken and inspired. Some Scholars spoke about feeling hopeless, anxious, and pessimistic about our country’s future. They shared stories about traumatic experiences with the police and conflicts with friends and families over their views. Others expressed a sense of pride, defiance, and determination. They are donating, volunteering, and protesting. And they are committed to coalition-building and continuing the fight for justice long after the current wave of activism ends. These conversations with our Scholars strengthen our resolve to be part of the solution.
LEDA was founded to pursue a bold vision, one we believe would help turn the tide on the challenges we face today: a United States where our leaders reflect the country’s rich diversity and work to create a more just and equitable society. Together, we can make this vision our reality.