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We are having difficult conversations about systemic racism at Gallaudet University, in our deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind community, and in our nation. We are not alone in this conversation. We are part of the growing Black Lives Matter movement transcending across the country and world. It is important that we remember this.

Last week, Gallaudet hosted a panel with black students. They shared their stories — all of which were powerful. They shared their experiences and the impact those experiences had on them. We as an audience were able to listen to them and incorporate what they said into our own thinking.

At the end of the panel, I made an announcement that shifted the focus from our students’ experience. It shifted the focus away from Black Lives Matter. It shifted the focus away from systemic racism.

I made a mistake.

We must shift our focus back to our students’ experiences, back to Black Lives Matter, and back to the systemic racism at Gallaudet University and in our country.

Leadership and powerful testimonies are emerging throughout our community. I am grateful for this. We must find a way through this together, preserving the humanity of each of us as we put in this most difficult work. Racism harms all of us.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Roberta J. Cordano
President

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