Black Lives Matter: A message from NTID President Gerry Buckley

Dear members of the RIT/NTID community,

The last several weeks have been upsetting and traumatizing for many members of our community. The unconscionable deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, and of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police has exposed the ugly truth that systemic racism and bigotry persist in the United States.

To the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) members of our community, I say that I see you. The NTID leadership sees you. And we all stand with you.

We stand with you, and we support Black Lives Matter.

As noted by President Munson and Dr. Keith Jenkins, vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion, in their May 31 message to the community about respect, inclusivity, equity, RIT will be offering more opportunities in the coming weeks and months that will allow for dialogue and education. NTID will be involved in these offerings and will provide additional programming as well.

We will be working closely with our new Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Alesia Allen, who will begin her new role on July 1st, but all of us, I repeat, all of us at NTID, share responsibility for working together to improve our community.

The discussions and dialogue occurring right now in our community are not easy, but they are necessary to our growth and development as individuals and as a community that believes in justice and equality.

But dialogue is not enough. Change requires action. We have taken a number of actions over the past few years, including establishing the NTID director of diversity and inclusion position, the director of ALANA faculty and staff recruitment and retention position, and establishing the Randleman Program for increasing the diversity of our interpreter workforce, but we must do more. And we will do more through an action plan that will be developed by the NAC this summer and shared with the community prior to the start of the academic year.

We stand ready to work with our colleagues in Rochester who seek racial justice and police reform through the collaborative efforts of the Urban League, RIT’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and Department of Public Safety.

We also will work with other organizations in the field of Deaf education to address systemic inequality issues that continue to be barriers to the academic success of our students of color.

We are united in our commitment to uphold all of RIT's Core Values, including treating every person with dignity and respect. We condemn all forms of racism, bigotry, and hatred, and we pledge to one another that we will work together for healing and change.

Thank you.

Gerry Buckley
NTID President