A Statement from President Judd on the Trial of Derek Chauvin for the Killing of George Floyd

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Dear Members of the Sarah Lawrence Community,

The killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 followed close upon the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in a year with a seemingly endless stream of tragic and devastating events. As we await the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, news of other killings fill the headlines, including the death of another unarmed Black man at the hands of police, Daunte Wright, mere miles from where the trial is taking place, as well as news of the killing of 13-year old Adam Toledo by police in Chicago.

Indeed, the news today is crowded with troubling headlines in a year that has been filled with troubling headlines: 

The searing images of our nation’s Capitol being overrun by an armed mob attempting to thwart the peaceful transfer of power and undermine democracy itself, leading to the deaths and injuries of Capitol and Metropolitan police officers in the line of duty.

Harassment, violence towards, and crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the US on the rise in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic—a public health crisis that itself laid bare stark disparities in our society.

Gun violence in the United States that remains unchecked and continues to wreak havoc, devastating families and communities, with near daily reports of deaths and injuries in just the month since eight people died at the hands of a gunman in Atlanta.

And in 2021, a record amount of anti-transgender legislation passed across the United States.

Today, as we await a verdict, we say the name “George Perry Floyd, Jr.” We know at Sarah Lawrence that words matter. As we say his name—as we recite the litany of names of those whose lives have been lost to police violence, to racism, to gun violence, to hatred, to the historic inequities perpetuated against Black, indigenous, and people of color—may saying it compel each of us to strengthen our individual and collective resolve to seek justice for our nation and our world. I hope that you will join me as we continue this vital work together through the College’s year long Justice series.


Cristle Collins Judd

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.