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One Duke Family: A Message from the Dean

A message from Dean Ravi Bellamkonda to the Duke Engineering community, June 1, 2020:

Dear Pratt community,

We come from all over the world and from all over the United States.  Each of us is unique and belongs to many other worlds and families. We value this diversity as one of our greatest strengths as a community, and as a nation. So it hurts to lose George Floyd. It hurts to have lost Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others in this shameful pattern of racial injustice and violence.  It hurts to see hurt express itself as it has been over the last few days. It brings a sinking feeling to see these horrifying incidents happen again and again. And we must ask, what can we do to stop this pattern? 

We may as individuals feel small in the face of such daunting and entrenched problems, but our words and actions can make a difference in our own communities, and ripple outward. I am proud to be part of a university that is dedicated to actively pursuing our values of trust, respect and inclusion, as President Price wrote this weekend. As our own Duke Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) implores us, we must categorically and unequivocally reject racism and the false idea of racial hierarchies, and work toward transformational and sustainable change. You can find information about engaging with TRHT at trht.duke.edu, and other resources and opportunities for engagement on the Pratt website and Duke’s Diversity & Inclusion website.

Unquestionably there is much more work to do. As a Pratt community, I challenge all of us to actively do our part to create the Duke and the world where, even as we honor all of our different backgrounds and origins and cultures, our most precious identity is the humanity we have in common with each other.  In this way, we can come together in doing the hard, necessary and ultimately the most meaningful work of building the world that we want the next generation to inherit. 

So, dear Duke Engineering family, I am thinking of you personally. If you are struggling during these tumultuous times, please be reminded that there are many resources at Duke to help, including CAPS and the Personal Assistance Service. Be well—we have work to do, but it’s work that we CAN do, and will be proud to do to make the world more just for all.  

Sincerely,

Bellamkonda signature

Prof. Ravi V Bellamkonda
Vinik Dean of Engineering
Duke University