February 1, 2017

Dear University of Miami Community,

As many of you know, February is celebrated nationally as Black History Month. At the University of Miami, we are working to build an institution that each day honors the modern contributions and historic legacies of people of diverse identities and backgrounds. This is my hope for a shared culture of belonging at UM.

This year Black Awareness Month (BAM) at the University of Miami takes on added significance as we examine our own history. The UM Black Alumni Society has organized the First Black Graduates Project to recognize alumni who graduated from the University during the 1960s and 1970s. We applaud their courage, successes, and contributions to our institution with UTrailblazers, a series of events including a month-long library exhibition and a culminating celebration on the Coral Gables campus on February 24 and 25.

Universities are distinctly places that nourish the seeds of social consciousness. I applaud our students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are advocating for Black Lives Matter and for silenced voices throughout the world. We must continue to build bridges that strengthen our connections to and deepen our understanding of one another. I encourage you to take part in events celebrating Black Awareness Month and to consider our responsibility to one another every month.

We are one U.