January 28, 2021
Re: Black History Month
To: All Campus
January 28, 2021
As we prepare to celebrate Black History Month, I am reflecting on the commitment we share to realizing justice for the Black community by continuing to encourage inclusive excellence at UC Merced.
While we have miles to go in our journey toward a truly inclusive and representative community, many at UC Merced are already making history through their work:
- In 2020, Professor Tracy Osborne was named the UC Presidential Chair in Management of Complex Systems in recognition of her pioneering work in climate change mitigation and its relation to social justice. This five-year appointment allows her to collaborate with other scholars on projects that promote climate and social justice and have the potential to heal our world.
- Among many other accolades, Professor Asmeret Berhe was recognized by the American Geophysical Union as one of this year’s recipients of the Joanne Simpson Medal for Mid-Career Scientists for her transformative scientific advances in the Earth and space sciences. According to her peers, her work in soil biogeochemistry has “improved understanding of the dynamics of organic matter in soil systems, in particular in systems that experience rapid changes as a result of fire, erosion and climate change.” In addition to her essential scientific contributions, Professor Berhe is also an outspoken advocate for the inclusion of women and racial justice in STEM.
- Professors Whitney Pirtle and Kevin Dawson published scholarship that analyzed current events through a critical race theory lens and continue to contribute to our understanding of how longstanding power structures and racial and economic inequity impact society today.
- Through her leadership on the People First Workgroup, the Valuing Black Lives Task Force, and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Dania Matos has taken tremendous strides over the past year toward creating a culture of transparency, accountability and fostering a climate where social justice, diversity and inclusion are woven into the very fabric of the university.
At this Friday’s town hall , we will hear a set of recommendations from the Valuing Black Lives Task Force on how we can continue to promote racial justice and equity on campus. We remain committed to the ongoing task of learning, growing and creating lasting change in how we embody these values at UC Merced, and we will honor Black History Month this year by working to lift up Black and other underrepresented voices and experiences that strengthen our resolve to achieve a more just, inclusive and equitable future for all members of our community.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.
Remarks and Addresses