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Dr. Kent Butler, Interim Chief Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Officer
"Now Is Our Time to be Actively Anti-Racist"

From the deaths of Breonna, Ahmaud and George to our  brothers and  sisters of Asian descent who are being unfairly discriminated  against in connection to the pandemic, racism is painfully real and something  so many of us live with every day.

Leaving the house is an action that may seem ordinary for  some, but for individuals who deal with regular hatred and judgment — just for  looking how they look, being who they are, loving who they love, or living  according to their faith — we live with anxiety and fear about walking into  unwelcoming spaces.

Yet, we still leave our homes. Our lived experiences and  our histories are still worth listening to. Our stories matter.

At UCF, in my corner of the world, I try to bring this  awareness to those with whom I interact daily.

With more than 80,000 students and faculty and staff  members, each of us has a story and a part to play in building this inclusive  community. We all need to be listened to and learned from.

We also need to be comfortable with the discomfort born  from honest, difficult dialogues about race and culture. And these  conversations must happen regularly, not just in reaction to tragic and  gut-wrenching headline-grabbing incidents of racism.

We do not want to imagine something terrible or tragic  happening close to home or to a person we love, because it is painful to  think about. We choose to shield ourselves from these painful thoughts, but  others do not have that luxury. It is their reality.

But it is time we share those stories, and more  importantly, that we truly listen to them. Ultimately, we all have a need to  express our feelings about the discrimination and violence we have been  inundated with recently, especially those we experience firsthand.

Sharing our stories helps us understand the humanity of  those around us and, hopefully, leads us to embrace differences. Most  importantly, it reminds us to treat everyone the way we would want to be  treated, as stated in the UCF Creed and the values that guide us.

Breaking down barriers is not easy, but as Knights, we  have the power to do it together by creating an environment that encourages a  space for our stories and embraces equity, inclusion and diversity.

It is going to take all of us to do better — to be better  — to change our society.


Readings On Race has been moved to a dedicated guide which includes individual pages for readings on the challenges facing various minority communities in the United States.