Responding to the Chauvin Trial

4/21/21 Pratt School of Engineering

A message to the Pratt Community from Dean Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Associate Dean Nan Jokerst and Karis Boyd-Sinkler, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Responding to the Chauvin Trial

Yesterday’s verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, finding the former police officer guilty of murdering George Floyd, drew global attention, but was also a moment of personal significance and reflection for many of us. The verdict came almost a year after Mr. Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020—a deeply disturbing event that set off widespread anger and activism against the destructive patterns of racism across our society.   

Over the past year, we have seen those patterns emerge again and again, with disheartening frequency, in other acts of racially motivated violence across our nation. And through many conversations, courageous sharing of personal experiences, and focused discussions such as Living While Black, we have gained deeper understanding of racial injustices that have caused pain within our own communities, both at Duke and at Pratt. 

We want to recognize everyone at Pratt who has engaged over the past year, in ways large or small, in shining a light on injustice and sharing your voice, time and ideas to turn the tide–whether in your department, a work group, a student organization, our school-wide DEIC Committee, our department DEI Committees or a university-wide initiative. Although much work remains, it is encouraging to see such broad engagement and commitment as Duke and Pratt continue to seek racial justice and an inclusive community for all.

As President Price noted in his message Tuesday, this has been a painful time, compounded by the isolation many of us are feeling due to the pandemic. Please remember that there are resources to help. In addition to Blue Devils Care for students and the Personal Assistance Service for faculty and staff, Pratt’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion Karis Boyd-Sinkler is now available for office hours for anyone in our community. 

Later this week, please also look for the first issue of our new Pratt DEIC “Community Connections” newsletter, which will provide regular updates, information, opportunities, and resources related to diversity, equity and inclusion at Pratt. We hope this will be a helpful tool to share information and foster connections across our community as we continue this most important work together. 


Ravi V. Bellamkonda
Vinik Dean of Engineering

Nan Jokerst
Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs & Community Engagement

Karis Boyd-Sinkler
Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion