UF President Kent Fuchs spoke out against the killing of George Floyd in a video released on Twitter Friday evening.
In the video, Fuchs condemned the act of violence against Floyd and said there has never been a more urgent need to come together against racism and hate and in support of justice.
“The killing in Minneapolis brings to the fore the racism and justice and violence that so often are directed at and experienced by African Americans,” Fuchs said in the video. “Always, and particularly now as we live with COVID-19, we each need to be seen for our full humanity, to be welcomed and to know that we are valued.”
Fuchs asked UF students and faculty to consider how they can effect positive change and to listen to those affected by racism and violence. He encouraged viewers to reflect on their biases and to learn about racial injustice.
”By joining together, we can and must work each day to ensure that every human being is nurtured, cherished and respected,” he said in the video.
UF Vice President for Student Affairs D’Andra Mull sent an email to students following the release of Fuchs’ video. She said she recognized the feelings of frustration and sorrow that many members of the UF community are experiencing.
Mull wrote that the impact of COVID-19 combined with the resurgence of racial violence against African Americans has left some confused and traumatized. Those feelings are valid and real, she said.
“Collectively, we are grieving,” Mull wrote in the email.
Mull also acknowledged that the killings of black Americans like Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Nina Pop stem from racism and hate, both of which have no place in our society, she wrote.
“To our Black students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families, please know we see you, and we are here for you,” Mull wrote.
Floyd died Monday after ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Activists have protested across the nation since then, and Chauvin was removed from the force Tuesday.
Authorities announced Friday that Chauvin was arrested, and the Hennepin County attorney announced he was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to the New York Times.