Statement from the Dean: Reaffirming support and justice for our peers of color

Portrait photo of Dean Wright
André-Denis Wright, Dean of CAHNRS.

I know first-hand what it means to dream for a better life. I was raised in a small Canadian town established by runaway slaves and reared by a single mother in a home with unreliable electricity and no indoor plumbing or running water. My mother’s dream was for me to prosper in a better world unburdened by the trappings of poverty and unscathed by systemic injustice because of the color of my skin. It is why she dressed me in suits and ties, and paved the way for my education and a lifetime of learning.

As the dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, I can say my mother’s dream for me has been realized in so many ways. But the unforgiveable deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery, and the innumerable victims before them remind me with glaring clarity that much of my mother’s dream has yet to be realized, and indeed seems to have gone backwards.

My family and I are beset by shock, grief, anger, and sadness at these recent events. We stand steadfast and resolute with the African-American community in this unspeakable moment. As a black man who has lived in and traveled throughout the world, I have not been unscathed. I have personally seen the long arm of racism, discrimination, injustice, and inequality leveled against me, and have endured its pain. And it’s a pain I share with the people of color in our college and all of WSU—the faculty, staff, and students.

We often hear rhetoric about CAHNRS being like a family, but I believe it’s true. Now, perhaps, more than ever. Of all the places that I have visited and lived in, Pullman and WSU feel most like home. Because here, my mother’s dream moves forward.

Regardless of our race, color, or ethnicity, we all have a role to play in ending racism and guaranteeing an inclusive and equitable community. I encourage you to be agents of change, to speak out against these injustices, and demand long overdue change. That change starts now.

Please join me in taking this moment to reaffirm support for our peers of color and to envision and work toward a just society and community. Because black lives matter.