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Statement on the Killing of Daunte Wright

News Posted on April 16, 2021

A statement from Dean Kevin R. Johnson

The nation suffered another tragic loss of an African American man, Daunte Wright, at the very same time that an officer is on trial for killing George Floyd. While this is a deeply upsetting and disturbing event for all of us - following on too many similar tragedies - we stand with our Black students, staff, and faculty and support them as they may need it.

UC Davis Chancellor Gary May issued the following statement:

“In quantum mechanics, Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment that illustrates an apparent paradox of quantum superposition. In the thought experiment, a hypothetical cat may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. (Wikipedia)

As a black man in America, I often feel like Schrödinger’s cat: I exist in an uncertain state that can be simultaneously considered both alive and dead, subject only to a potential random interaction with an incompetent/fallible/malicious law enforcement officer that may or may not occur. It’s exhausting.

Nevertheless, I fully support President Drake’s statement. While the nation watches the Derek Chauvin trial and waits for the outcome, we now have to come to terms with the death of Daunte Wright, a young man whose son will grow up without his father. No matter the circumstances surrounding this incident, Mr. Wright did not need to die. 

In times like this, it’s easy to feel hurt, frustrated, angry and exhausted. I understand. Many of us felt those emotions last summer and many times before that. I once again urge you to get support if you need it. 

If you are a student in need of mental health resources, contact Student Health and Counseling Services. If you are faculty or staff, contact the Academic and Staff Assistance Program. We also have Racial Trauma Resources.

Let’s set an example, guided by our Principles of Community, of finding strength and value in one another. Let’s continue to reimagine public safety on our campus. Let’s show who we are.”

I very much share Chancellor May’s and President Drake’s sentiments. These are difficult times and we should support one another. Dean Scivoletto has sent out previous messages about support services.