Let us continue to work toward justice

While the jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts, our nation continues to grapple with a wave of violence, racism and injustices, and the mental and emotional toll of recent events on our community is undeniable.

Dean Rochelle Ford

First, and foremost, the School of Communications at Elon continues to stand in solidarity with, and support of, our community members who identify as Asian, Black, Indigenous and all People of Color. These communities are disproportionately affected by violence – such as the senseless murder of George Floyd – and these instances are reminders of the work needed to curb systemic racism and oppression. We know that diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more caring and more just. Let us find strength through the acceptance of others and working together to improve society.

As a school dedicated to teaching civic-minded journalists and communicators, we fully support our media members who report on behalf of the public good. Faced with repeated exposure to difficult stories and traumatic events, journalists and professional communicators have endured an additional strain. As these individuals work to inform and educate others, while trying to remain fair, balanced, calm and professional, we understand the taxing work environment they experience.

To help alleviate this strain, we hope journalists and communicators seek resources when needed, and share these tools with others. There are several organizations available to journalists who report on and face violence, including the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, Committee to Protect Journalists, and International News Safety Institute, among others. The International Journalists’ Network recently outlined “Tips for coping after reporting distressing and traumatic stories.

Professional communicators, as well as our students, faculty and staff, are not immune to trauma and distress, which can take an emotional and physical toll in a multitude of ways. When pushed to one’s limits, prioritize one’s own self-care and seek out someone to talk with – when ready.

For our students, know that our ElonComm faculty and staff are willing listeners and advisers. Confide in them with your concerns, and utilize the resources offered by the university. Achieving mental and emotional health is not – and should not be – a lonely road.

We understand that our community has watched the Derek Chauvin trial carefully, and many may have a range of emotions in its wake. Acts of violence and racism challenge us as individuals and as a community to be better. As members of the Elon community, we must learn about and address the issues that divide us, and we must work collectively to be the bridge to a better, more just, world. Let’s support each other and take care of ourselves as we continue to work toward justice.

Rochelle Ford
Dean, School of Communications, Elon University

– Published April 21, 2021

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