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Virtual dialogue on Ahmaud Arbery tragedy

Roadrunners will gather online today from 3-4:30 p.m. to process and support one another in grieving Arbery, an African American man shot to death while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia.

By Michael Benitez, Ph.D., and Cynthia Baron, Ed.D.

May 13, 2020

Empty campus sidewalk lined by spring trees.We are reaching out with heavy hearts as we grieve the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man gunned down by two men while jogging near his home in Brunswick, Georgia. This horrific tragedy comes at a time of increasing racially motivated violence toward minority communities, including anti-Asian bias , which compound the stressors we are all facing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. During this especially challenging time, it is troublesome to have to also process the pain and trauma caused by acts rooted in racial bias and bigotry.
Much has surfaced over the course of the spring semester on the topics of bias and discrimination across the nation. It is heartbreaking to continue to observe such gruesome acts of racially motivated hostility and violence towards minority communities. Pew Research reported last year on the ongoing trend of overt racism in America, finding that most Americans say “it’s now more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views.” Disturbingly, more than four out of 10 Americans said racist commentary has become more acceptable over the last several years.
Regardless of our appearance or background, we should all be able to engage in activities such as jogging without fear for our lives. These acts of racial bias and violence are deeply troubling, and we must stand together to condemn the systemic racism that enables such tragedies to occur. We recognize that even if incidents do not happen on our campus or in our immediate community, acts of hate and violence impact us ALL. Such acts have a direct impact on our Roadrunner family, and we know that many are tired and hurting from these instances of social and physical violence.
As such, we want to provide a space for Roadrunners to reflect. The Center for Equity and Student Achievement, in partnership with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is hosting a virtual community gathering for us to come together into shared space to recognize and process the impact of this tragedy. We hope that you’ll consider joining us on Wednesday, May 13, from 3-4:30 p.m. via Zoom. Register for the gathering via this link. You will receive a meeting code after registering.
We understand this might be a difficult time for members of our community and would like to remind you of important resources available to you. For anyone who is struggling or looking for someone to speak with, we are here for you.
For students, feel free to connect with the Center for Multicultural Excellence and Inclusion by emailing MSU Denver students have access to the Counseling Center, which offers free and confidential mental health assistance online. Call 303-615-9988 or visit the Counseling Center website to arrange a remote appointment.

For staff and faculty, all MSU Denver employees have access to free and confidential resources through the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program. CSEAP can also be reached by phone at 303-866-4314 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday to Friday. After hours, employees can contact Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or

The Roadrunner family is inclusive of all people, from all backgrounds and walks of life. Now more than ever, we must be united in our support for one another.

Topics: Community, Diversity, Inclusion, Respect

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