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June 2020

Dear Mindful UNC Community,
We condemn the killings of Black lives taken unjustly by police and a system and culture of white supremacy. Sadly, this is nothing new for our country. We are heartbroken, grief stricken and in pain.
We believe that all systemic injustices against Black lives must come to an end. We urge compassionate listening, education and advocacy to create meaningful, long-lasting systemic change in our society. As James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

As a diverse group of faculty and staff working at the nation’s first public university, it is our responsibility to educate the students and the public, but we need to first look within. We must start by naming and acknowledging that we are working for a historically white college and university (HWCU), and that comes with a painful legacy and culture that continues to grapple with issues of racial inequity.

Mindful UNC was established to create a community for all UNC faculty and staff to be able to practice, learn and discuss contemplative practices in an open, welcoming space. We believe that fostering diversity and equity is paramount to creating an inclusive and representative space.

The history of racism and oppression in our society inflicts trauma disproportionately on people of color. This suffering ultimately ripples out and is felt by us all when living in an inequitable society. This fall, Mindful UNC will focus our work on addressing this trauma through the contemplative exploration of equity, injustice, pain, stress, anxiety and more. Given the unjust killing of Black lives, systemic racism, racial trauma, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope that these sessions will provide a small reprieve to help support you in your daily life.

It will take inner strength and a mindful, open-hearted approach to succeed and we hope that our online sessions in the fall semester will be a source of support, learning and inspiration.

In solidarity,
The Mindful UNC Steering Committee