Confronting Racism

A Message from President Simon to the Lehigh Community.

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community,

The recent tragic events in Minneapolis around the death of George Floyd, as well as other incidents of violence inflicted upon African Americans in our country, have shocked the nation and deeply affected all of us. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones of Mr. Floyd and the families and friends of those who have lost their lives to other horrific and senseless acts of racism. These events further demonstrate our need to stand together as a community and take ownership of our obligation to fight against the systemic discrimination and racial disparities that continue to plague our nation.

As members of the Lehigh University community, we must affirm our values—equality, peaceful dialogue, the free exchange of ideas and the encouragement of respectful debate—and support the condemnation and repudiation of systemic discrimination, hate and intolerance and their violent manifestation. We must continue to affirm our shared responsibility to fight ignorance, model inclusive excellence and embrace the power of diversity.

It is our shared responsibility to work together to create a society in which discrimination and racism are no longer tolerated. We must play an active role in understanding, candidly engaging in dialogue, and solving the problems of racial inequity and injustice.

While I would not presume to speak about the experience of African Americans, I know African Americans in the Lehigh community are feeling anger, outrage and fear in the wake of the violence we have witnessed. I once again ask that we as a Lehigh community recommit to our shared values; reject hatred, bigotry and intolerance; and reflect on what each of us can do, large or small, and how we can come together with hope and determination to create a more just, actively inclusive and equitable community.


John D. Simon ’19P


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