Carnegie Mellon University

August 27, 2020

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

We are once again united in anguish at another senseless act of violence in our nation. The incident in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that led to Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer, while his young children watched, is another devastating and completely avoidable tragedy that exposes the deep-rooted racism that exists in our society. While the nation is relieved that Mr. Blake survived this attack, the damage to him and his family is irreparable.

There are some who will say we cannot yet determine whether this act was motivated by racism. While we may never know what was in the heart of that police officer at that moment, we must ask ourselves whether Mr. Blake would have been shot if he were not a person of color. We must ask ourselves why, in the year 2020, the inalienable right to life and liberty does not seem to apply to Jacob Blake and his family, and countless others. To look away or ignore these questions is immoral.

It is heartbreaking and infuriating to witness this cycle of violence continue, and the Carnegie Mellon community stands with the Blake family calling for justice. The time for meaningful action at every level is long overdue. It is simply inexcusable to continue to allow lives to be destroyed by acts of racially-motivated violence.

Black lives matter. Black futures and livelihoods matter. It is up to all of us to continue to work toward meaningful change in our society and to show compassion at this time when so many are experiencing a heightening of the grief, anxiety and fear that exist as a normal backdrop in their lives.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair