Confronting racism in the ETC Community – We Can Do Better Together

Confronting Racism and Promoting Equity and Inclusion, message to the CMU community from Farnam Jahanian
Carnegie Mellon University President, Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair

Dear ETC Community – 

We continue to live through unprecedented times together. While the world is still working to solve the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation is struggling with the systemic racism and economic inequality of our society. Over 100,000 Americans have died from the pandemic, and over 40 million are unemployed, and statistics highlight how those impacted are disproportionately under-represented and under-served. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery (along with so many others) have clearly exposed the heartbreaking reality in which we’re living, and the protests express this pain and anguish.  

I’m humbly aware that I’m not in a position to speak on how these events impact Black and African-American communities. That is not my place, nor my privilege. For those more directly impacted by these hateful acts, we care about you, we stand with you, and we are here for you. Let’s listen and learn from each other. We are here to more fully engage in the on-going struggle for a society that is anti-racist, just and openly tolerant of the differences that make us better as a community. 

The pandemic has exposed how much was wrong with the “old” normal for many of us in our society, and I believe it is imperative that we work together to help create a “new” normal that is better for us all. Change needs to happen, we all need to do things that have never been done before. And it will take all of us to create an open and equitable culture of mutual trust, respect and opportunity at the ETC, CMU and beyond. 

Now is the time to work to actualize a more just society for us all. To start, we need to live our values and do the work, discussing and addressing issues, challenging each other to aspire to be better together. This is how we can start making a difference and hopefully how we can start making some positive progress for everyone in our society. We need to educate ourselves so that we can help educate each other. Let’s get informed and get involved. 

As we learn through our creative collaborations, more diversity can be challenging, but it leads to better work. We are stronger together. The ETC must continue to improve our efforts to be a diverse, inclusive, equitable and just community. We all have the choice and the chance to better express ourselves through our words and our actions. We need to support and care for each other, our hearts need to be there with each other.  

I believe we can only do this together, and I invite everyone to join in the work to make our world a better place for all of us.

Thanks and Take Care,


Anti-Racism Resource Guide

Begun by the CMU Graduate Student Assembly

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