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A message to our community

Dear Harvard College Students,

Over the past week, our nation has faced the mass murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania, driven by anti-Semitism, the senseless, racially-motivated shooting at a supermarket in Kentucky, and the attempted mail bombings of elected officials and media outlets. We are deeply saddened by these tragedies, and our hearts go out to the victims, their families, friends and loved ones.

While these heartbreaking events have occurred far beyond our campus, each of us feels their impact and grieves for those affected. And despite the pain, sadness, anger and frustration felt, we must at the same time resolve to come together, comfort one another, and remind each other that the hatefulness on display in both actions and rhetoric over the last week has no place in our community, our country or our world. These events were pointed attacks on specific communities, but each of them represented a strike against our shared humanity. 

In the aftermath of these events, we are consumed by more questions than answers, and yet a few basic facts remain abundantly clear: together we are stronger with our vast diversity of people, cultures, religions, ideas and backgrounds. These values are articulated in the mission of the College, and through University efforts such as the Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging. The College remains committed to fostering an environment in which all are welcome, safe, and valued. 

We recognize that everyone processes tragedies and difficult times in different ways. As a reminder, there are many resources available to anyone in our community seeking support:

Although it may feel as though hatred and division are all around us, we do not have to —and must not —accept that this is just the way the world is, or that change is out of our hands. Together, we have an opportunity to build the kind of community and future society that we want to see through being authentic to who we are, embracing our differences, encouraging dialogue and debate, while also recognizing just how much we have in common. We can do this here first and then take it to the world. Each of us has a role to play in helping us get there, and you can make a difference by exercising one of the most valuable tools at your disposal this Tuesday: your right to vote. Whatever your political persuasion, I urge you to vote. Change depends on all of us. 

Warmly,

Rakesh Khurana
Danoff Dean of Harvard College