by Brad Gioia
These last few days I have reflected on the state of racial divide in our country and the importance of developing our school’s commitment to greater respect and support of one another. The violence and senselessness in the death of George Floyd has been overwhelming, and the subsequent extent of pain and tension evident in our cities across the country suggests a great need to build a better nation centered on care for one another. Today we have talked with a number of students and faculty and staff about developing this discussion and our efforts. The MBA community should show leadership in this area. I sent the note below to our faculty and staff this morning to ignite that spark of action, interest, and unity:
This weekend highlighted the ways in which we have been touched by the recent racial tensions throughout our country. For the past two nights our Mayor has imposed a curfew on the city because of the violence. I have had e-mails from friends in Moscow, Slovakia, and South Africa about these racial issues in Nashville. I have also heard from several of you. We have an opportunity to build a better school and community, to ensure our students and each other respect one another and all people -- regardless of race or religion or background.
Yesterday afternoon I read a beautifully composed essay by the President of Middlebury College, Laurie Patton. She spoke of the plagues in our country: Covid-19 and racism. She referenced the book The Plague by Albert Camus and how that story portrayed the ways a pestilence can strip away the focus on material wealth and success and lay bare what really matters: human relationships, care, and connection. The two plagues we are facing now have the same potential for all of us. Let's hope we can find ways to strip away all that is wrong and broken in our world. President Patton went on to say that two forms of "oxygen"(she used the poignant and haunting metaphor from George Floyd's last words to connect the issues of racism and the coronavirus -- I can't breathe) can heal our world: education and action.
At MBA we all have the opportunity to give the world a better view of how we care for one another. Let's start this summer by talking with our students, advisees, and one another.