Message from the Deans: In solidarity with Black and Asian communities following the weekend mass shootings

Dear UW Law Community:

A mass shooting by a white supremacist who targeted Black shoppers at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York killed 10 and wounded three. Then on Sunday, one person was killed and five more injured when a gunman fired on parishioners of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California. This and recent shootings at Asian-run businesses in Dallas, Texas - including one that wounded three women - are being investigated as hate crimes.

These incidents have filled all of us with horror, anger and grief. Our hearts grieve for those lost, for their friends and family, and for all who are impacted by this senseless violence. We condemn the racist actions of the gunmen and all attempts to intimidate, harass or harm the Black and Asian communities.

It is a simple reality that white people cannot feel and experience these horrific acts in the same manner that members of the communities targeted by these attacks do. However, those of us who are white can demonstrate support and allyship, especially by following the lead of BIPOC persons and organizations. We stand with our friends, colleagues and fellow community members who are experiencing the full weight of this horror, and we associate ourselves with their pain and anger. To those with ties to Buffalo or Southern California, we know that these blows fall especially hard on you.

To those in our community who have been affected by these shootings, we are also here to support you. If you need to step away to care for your own mental well-being, please feel empowered to do so. If you need support, resources are available:

We realize that we might need to provide additional support or resources, and we welcome your input.

Racially motivated violence occurs with numbing regularity, but we cannot become numb. No community or people should be forced to live in fear generated by racism, white supremacy and inequity. Although these incidents may be seen as aberrant acts by individuals, they are not. Systemic racism — historical and current — fuels baseless theories and practices, including those that led directly to the weekend’s killings. Our mission as a law school is to empower people to expose and fight structural injustice. As the weekend attacks indicate, that work is far from complete.

We are committed to resisting and overcoming racism through perseverance, an unwavering dedication to the rule of law, and through our actions as individuals and members of our community.

Please continue to look out for the marginalized among us, one another and yourself.

In solidarity,

  • Elizabeth Porter, Interim Toni Rembe Dean and professor of law
  • Cristina Arteaga, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid
  • William Covington, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Anna Endter, Associate Dean for Students
  • Kerry Godes, Assistant Dean for Advancement
  • Mary Hotchkiss, Associate Dean for Academic Administration
  • Christene A. James, Interim Assistant Dean for Finance and Operations
  • Erin Lloyd, Assistant Dean for Student and Career Services
  • Terry J. Price, Executive Director for the Graduate Programs
  • Zahr K. Said, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
  • Staishy Bostick Siem, Assistant Dean for Marketing, Communications & Strategic Initiatives
  • Carla Wale, Interim Associate Dean of Gallagher Law Library & Information Systems
  • Jessica West, Assistant Dean of Academic Success Programs

Editor’s note: Read UW President Ana Mari Cauce’s letter to the university community, We can all play a part in working to end racist violence.