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Chancellor’s message on racial and social injustice

At UH Hilo, we will continue to live up to our responsibility as one of the most diverse universities in the nation by making that designation mean something, as we continue to spread aloha into our community and beyond. We will continue to combat systemic racism.

Dear UH Hilo ‘Ohana,

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.I have been struggling to find the right words to say that might bring solace to our campus in the wake of the murder of George Floyd last week at the hands of police officers who are trained to serve and protect. This event is both angering and heart-wrenching, and the fact that this is not an isolated incident, but one in a series of attacks on black and brown bodies, makes it all the more maddening. Since the very earliest days of the United States, race and racism have often overpowered justice. Ninety-nine years ago today, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, burned in one of the deadliest racial incidents in American history. And still, in the twenty-first century, racial justice still eludes us.

To the African American members of our ‘ohana, we see you. We can only imagine your grief and anger, but we hear you. On our campus, you are loved and valued. At the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, we will continue to live up to our responsibility as one of the most diverse universities in the nation by making that designation mean something, as we continue to spread aloha into our community and beyond. We will continue to combat systemic racism.

Our students, faculty, and staff will value one another and the contributions made by each member of our university community. We will respect the right of each member of our community to live and work in an environment free from violence and hatred. We will honor the dignity of every member of our campus family. And we will continue to instill these values in our students and community. Discrimination has no place on our campus, and we will be guided by aloha and a commitment to equity in all we do.

Stay safe and well,

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor

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