College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

College of Education and Human Development

A Message from CEHD Interim Dean Robert Baker

June 9, 2020

CEHD Students,

I hope you have read the message sent by Mason Presidents Holton and Washington addressing the events that have unfolded over recent days surrounding the senseless death of George Floyd and the haunting refrain of “I can’t breathe.” This tragedy, compounded by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, has prompted this call to action to our College of Education and Human Development community. The heightened pain, anger, outrage, fear, sadness and trauma that Black people are currently experiencing in response to the heartbreaking deaths is worsened by being significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking care of ourselves and each other has never been more important. Please be aware that you are not alone. Also, take advantage of the available resources, such as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), for additional supports in processing the current circumstances. There is no single, right way to feel or respond to the senseless attitudes and actions of racism.

The hard truth is that racism is real and it is a disgrace. It is crucial that each of us plays a role in the solution that moves us closer to justice and equity. As a college, we must acknowledge and embody our core values. Toward that end, I will work with the CEHD leadership, faculty, staff, and you, our students, to initiate measures to facilitate social justice, foster a caring environment, provide access to excellence, and embrace the strength found in our diversity. We will establish an action-oriented team focused on diversity. Within CEHD, let’s be proactive and utilize our expertise to confront racism and be the best we can be at building an inclusive community. Because we believe in it, we should work at it.

As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, “The time is always right to do what is right.” May all of our community members feel our support and see our resolve. Please be kind to one another during these times, and let’s be a supportive community for everyone.

Robert E. Baker, EdD