Dear Department Family,
I write to you all today with a heavy heart. Children are brought into this world with hope and optimism. However, at some point parents and loved ones work to provide a realistic view of the world – one that walks the nurturing line of encouragement, but also reveals the reality of pain, disappointment and sorrow that comes with a full life. Unfortunately, some families, particularly families of color, must have this discussion with their children much sooner, and this discussion is not just words of caution, it is to save their lives.
We stand with President Fuchs, Dean Frierson of the Graduate School, Dean Abernathy of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and the Gator community in condemning the senseless acts of violence and injustice that are weighing heavily on all of our minds. No one should live their life in constant fear, but that is the world that we live in today and it has been this way for a very long time. I can hear, see, and feel the frustration in our community, along with passionate cries for change.
Let us capture our passions and direct them towards possible solutions. We need to make change, influence thought, solicit all sides of the conversation and embrace diversity. Let us make inclusion an action and not a mandate. Let us come together as a community to listen more and judge less. Let us empower more and hate less. Let us actively create an environment where people feel safe and not fearful for their lives because of where their family is from, the color of their skin, their gender, their ability, their creed, or their religion. Let us be free to be us.
We will meet this challenge in all of its ugliness and intolerance, head on. We commit to positive demonstrations of social responsibility. It won’t be easy, but it is upon each and every one of us to take steps in the right and just direction, creating the hopeful and optimistic world our parents originally envisioned.
We are here for you,
Michele Manuel, Ph.D.
Andreas Enqvist, Ph.D.
Nuclear Program Director