Protests continue across the country and around the world calling attention to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. As a white male, I recognize I come from a place of privilege based on the color of my skin. I cannot begin to understand what it is like to constantly fear for my life or the life of my loved ones, whether I am out in the world or in my own home. I have no experience with having to protest to make my message heard. However, I do know that racism is real and is expressed in overt, tragic ways, as well as by small, daily microaggressions. All racism is wrong, and we must be part of the overdue and needed change.
In the near term, all of us in ISU Extension and Outreach will support our Black and Brown colleagues, partners, and communities who are hurting. We will listen and we will educate ourselves. Our vision and mission are to build a strong Iowa by engaging all Iowans with our tools of research, education, and extension experiences to solve problems and prepare for a thriving future, and our strategic plan calls for reaching diverse and underrepresented populations. Going forward, we will continue our commitment and strengthen our resolve in putting our vision, mission, and strategic plan into action. By our actions we will ensure that "and justice for all" is more than merely words placed on a poster or recited by rote.
I encourage continuing dialogue throughout our organization, and I welcome your comments or concerns. I will listen. You can email me directly or send comments to the virtual suggestion box. The success of ISU Extension and Outreach depends on the success of everyone in our organization and all the people of our state. Together we will achieve a #StrongIowa.
John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach
June 4, 2020, 1:49 p.m. -- e-mail message sent to all extension staff, faculty, and council members