We work in support of the role that education plays in advancing a more just and equitable society

Statement of Our Commitment to Inclusion and Equity

George Floyd Mural
Photo by Lorie Shaull

To Our Occupational Therapy Program Family and Friends,
For almost a year our local community and those around the world have been greatly impacted by the killing of George Floyd and the charges brought against Derek Chauvin. This tragedy sparked a new awareness for many people of the disparities and injustices that have plagued people of color every day for generations. Despite video documentation of George Floyd’s murder, these longstanding generational injustices still caused many to doubt how just the trial’s outcome might be.     
The Hennepin County jury’s verdict of ‘guilty on all counts’ might mark the start of more recognition and acknowledgment of the pervasiveness and insidiousness of racism in our society, but justice for all remains a long-distance away. We share the belief that to establish true justice and equity, significant changes must occur at our very foundation, down to the way we engage in our everyday practices. This is about much more than the outcome of a single trial.

This tragedy sparked a national movement that heightened our country’s awareness of the existence and manifestation of systemic and structural racism, and it demanded accountability, equality, and change. Some of us may never truly understand the pain, fear, and trauma that Black people, indigenous people, and other people of color in our communities experience. But we hope that our collective goal as a society is to dedicate ourselves to make necessary and lasting changes.

In of itself, a jury verdict cannot fully address the myriad of injustices Black, Indigenous, and other people of color so often endure. Continuing to engage in difficult conversations and intentional actions will help steer us toward a path of mutual support as we grow and evolve.
The Occupational Therapy Program faculty and staff are unequivocally committed to racial justice and equal opportunity. We will strive towards removing barriers and systems that impede or limit the access that Black students, Indigenous students, and other students of color have to achieve their full potential. And we pledge to work today, and every day in support of the role that education plays in advancing a more just and equitable society.

Peggy M. Martin, Director
Occupational Therapy Program
April 27, 2021