The events of the last week have reminded me about the reasons I came to this country and became a U.S. citizen. Throughout history, people here have united to denounce injustice and show solidarity with those who suffer. It is why I chose to make the United States my home.
I feel the need to say his name. Although we do not all face the same obstacles as George Floyd and other victims of police brutality have, an oppressive system serves none of us. This is a crucial time in our society’s evolution, and despite all the stress and anxiety we are already facing, now is the time to stand up and be part of the change. To show that we stand together.
Despite the tragic and extreme events we have been witnessing and experiencing, as a professional community we must reaffirm our commitment to social justice and reject racism and violence. At the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, for instance, we have a responsibility to make a difference in the lives of our undergraduate and graduate students, who will go on to improve this imperfect society as journalists and communicators. When it comes to The LAGRANT Foundation, TLF continues its mission of supporting and fostering the next generation of diverse talent in advertising, marketing, and public relations, who may one day become the leaders of these industries.
All of us must work harder — and with renewed sense of urgency — to educate ourselves and engage one another on the historic context of last week’s and similar events, and the role of news and other media and communication organizations in sustaining or challenging entrenched racism.
On top of the social unrest, we are sharing the distress of an ongoing pandemic. But as we have seen it can also bring out the best in us and crystalize our sense of purpose.
Yes, we are hurting from the disturbing events of the last week, yet we need to find purpose and hope. We all must continue to read and study, listen better, and stand up against racism and violence.
We are a professional community built on values. This is what keeps us together. We may be physically distant, but we remain socially cohesive. In the case of my academic institution, our mission is to educate the next generation of professionals and scholars who will change our increasingly uncertain, fragile, and polarized world. We need that next generation — and your support — more than ever before.
Juan-Carlos Molleda, Ph.D.
Edwin L. Artzt Dean and Professor, School of Journalism and Communication
University of Oregon
The LAGRANT Foundation Board Member