The past year has been full of moments that have tested and challenged us.
They have tested us individually, as a campus, as people, and as a nation.
The COVID pandemic has caused more than 30 million in our nation to fall ill and more than half a million among us to lose their life in this battle. Countless more have lost their livelihood, have been delayed in their educational journeys, have created endless social isolation and disrupted the very communities that we call home.
We have witnessed dozens of mass shootings across our nation and felt the pain of their loved ones and the communities that were devastated. This has impacted communities large and small, from coast to coast, including most recently our very own. Earlier this year we watched the assault on our nation’s Capitol, the very seat of our government, and learned of the injury and death of those dedicated to protect our leaders elected to protect suggestion: to safeguard our democracy.
We have also, all too often been witness to the nationwide racially driven violence targeting Black, Brown, Asian and so many other individuals. Not only have these incidents exposed the reality of racism in our country, they have also served as a call to action for all of us to do better, to be better stewards of the future that we build together. Today we stand at yet another crossroad with the impending jury verdict in the Derek Chauvin case regarding the tragic death of George Floyd.
As I have clearly stated before, and I will reiterate here, UNO is a community that is a place anyone regardless of race, nationality, creed, gender, sexuality, or background is not only welcome, but supported. There is absolutely no place here for hate or violence of any kind and those that choose to engage in these practices will not find sanctuary at our university, and are not a welcome member of the Maverick Family.
It is with this in mind that I ask that we all approach the days ahead with a desire to do better, to be better, advocate for our ourselves, and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. If we are to truly embody the promise of our national motto, E Pluribus Unum, that we are one nation of many voices – we need to not just speak up with our own voice but listen to and value the voices of others.
I encourage everyone to remind themselves of our excellent campus resources. Students, please make use of ourCounseling and Psychological Services (CAPS); faculty and staff, please use ourFaculty and Staff Employee Assistance Program (FSEAP); and all members of our Maverick Family, please speak up if you are a victim, or encounter, instances of violence or hate through ourPublic Safety Officeor ourBias and Hate Incidentsreporting site.
In these coming days and weeks please take care of yourself and take care of each other. You are seen. You are important. You have value as a member of the Maverick family. You are welcome here.
Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.