This open letter to the Class of 2021 was written as a unified effort of the University's Black Alumni and developed after over 200 alumni, led by Gregory Jackson and Cameron Webb, took action "to support the efforts in Charlottesville in order to strengthen the community that helped to shape our individual characters over the years."
To the Class of 2021,
Congratulations on being accepted to the University of Virginia, the number two public University in the nation. This place will become your home away from home as you form bonds with fellow classmates and build your academic knowledge to be the change you wish to see in the future. You are not here by happenstance, you deserve to be here!
As former students, we know the angst you must be experiencing as you make last minute preparations for your move on grounds. We are sure that recent events have not only increased your anxiety but perhaps caused you to question attending the University. It's important to note that while these events are egregious in nature they are not completely unprecedented. While attending a public university in the south, each of us as Black Alumni has experienced or witnessed racism and prejudice. We were able to triumph over each situation through the help of the University, alumni and most importantly, through our relationships with one another in a community filled with love and support. However, the magnitude of this particular event is quite uncommon and requires immediate attention. Racism, prejudice, and discrimination are not values honored by the University of Virginia nor are they accepted by its students, faculty, staff or alumni. Even though you are just beginning your time at the University, you are in fact entering that same community of love and support we once inhabited.
We want you to know that the faculty, staff, alumni, and Charlottesville community are part of your support network throughout your journey at UVA and beyond. As students of the class of 2021, you will have experiences that are unique to your time at the University and will shape the fabric of how this school moves into the future. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you make your place in the University and lastly, our thoughts and prayers are with those that may have been injured or lost loved ones through the acts violence in Charlottesville.
With Respect and Love,
UVA Black Alumni Family
#HoosAgainstHate #OurUniversity #WeAreCharlottesville