Supporting our Community: Black Lives Matter

June 5, 2020

U-M BME Chair Lonnie Shea shared the following message with the BME community on June 4, 2020, about standing up to racism and supporting the Black community.

To All Members of the BME Community:

Given the events of the past weeks, we wanted to reach out to our UM BME community.  Like most of you, we were horrified by the distressing and wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.  We have followed the subsequent protests and demonstrations across the country, and we want to join them in expressing our anger and disdain for the ongoing violence and racism we have witnessed, and to affirm our solidarity with the Black community.

The sad reality is that this current crisis is not new and it is not someone else’s problem. Racism exists in all parts of our society and black Americans have been oppressed since the founding of our nation. We are not immune to racism in our academic bubble, nor are we isolated from the effects of discrimination in our labs and academic communities.  

As a department, and as a university, we need to stand together, support each other, and strive to make this institution and the places we live better.  We know that most of us feel the need to do something, and action is clearly needed at many levels. Without action we are complicit. Without speaking up we are complicit. However, we must ensure we support and do not speak over the black voices in our community whose personal experiences we cannot claim to know. By working together, we can move towards a more just and equitable future. One in which black Americans are able to live freely, openly, and equally within our society, and without fear of their lives being taken from them. Because Black Lives Matter.

As always, if you or someone you know needs help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us or other resources at the University. You may also seek help through the Trotter Multicultural Center, the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, the C.A.R.E. Center in Engineering, and the Wellness Office at the Medical School, or you can see this compiled list of mental health resources. (Thanks to JC Garcia for assembling this list).

We hope you stay well and stay safe.

David Sept
Senior Associate Chair
DEI Lead

Douglas Noll
Associate Chair for Research (CoE)

Rachael Schmedlen
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education

Lonnie Shea
William and Valerie Hall Chair

Jan Stegemann
Associate Chair for the Masters Program

Jim Weiland
Associate Chair for Research (Medical School)

Zhen Xu
Associate Chair for Graduate Education