AUGUST 13, 2017
Dear Colleagues and Students,
We are writing to check in with you after the weekend of abhorrent events in Charlottesville surrounding the “Unite the Right” rally. We hope that you are all safe and know you are emotionally traumatized as are all of us.
Hate came to our community and University in the form of white supremacy- the real name for the alt right movement. Their targets are people of color, Jewish people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and all other groups who do not fit their limited, exclusive vision of our country. It is important to be explicit in our rejection of their racial hatred and to take a clear stance for our humanitarian and democratic values, especially the values of equality and diversity.
People were injured, a woman and two men were killed, and countless others have been traumatized by this act of terrorism in our city. We are grateful to the first responders and our colleagues in the Medical Center and at Martha Jefferson Hospital who cared for the injured, one who remains critical. Many of these caregivers are our own UVA nursing graduates and President Sullivan and the Governor visited these nurses today and were awed by their skill and compassion. It is a very upsetting and tumultuous time, filled with uncertainty and anxiety.
On Monday we have created a space for us to come together in a Town Hall meeting to share our thoughts and feelings about these events and their impact on you, those you love, and those you may not know, but care about. We will meet from 3:00-4:00pm in McLeod Hall Room 1004. Please come with an open heart as we share some time together and plan our way forward with courage and rededication to our long held values.
We acknowledge that given the contentious political climate in our country today, this is not likely to be over. Right now we shall stay focused on welcoming our new students and new faculty and caring for each other despite our deep emotions. We will let them know that we stand firmly against all acts of racial and religious hatred and will continue to create a culture of respect and compassion for all in our School of Nursing, the University, and the great community of Charlottesville in which we are privileged to work.
Please know there will be further updates from President Sullivan and a proposed new website with info including how to stay involved and FAQs. We will continue to find ways to bring our community together, treating each other with respect and compassion, and defending those in our midst who are targets of hatred and discrimination.
Dorrie Fontaine and Susan Kools
Dorrie K. Fontaine RN, PhD, FAAN
Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing and Dean
Susan Kools, PhD, RN, FAAN
Madge M. Jones Professor in Nursing
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion