In the week since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, many powerful individuals, organizations, sports leagues and companies have issued statements on the incident, and the widespread protests and social unrest that followed.
This past week, important members of the Eastern community have released statements and commented on the issue of racial injustice and the tensions that have boiled over recently.
President David Glassman released his statement May 31.
“Like many of you, I am watching as scenes of public unrest and personal anguish continue to unfold in cities and states across America,” he said.
“As President of Eastern Illinois University, I have a platform that affords me a unique public voice – and one that I am compelled to use to strongly denounce all forms of bigotry, racism, needless violence, and acts of intolerance,” he said.
Members of Eastern athletics have also spoken out in recent days. Athletic Director Tom Michael also released a statement on May 31.
“There is no room for racism in our society,” Michael said. “We are all deeply saddened by the events that have taken place around the country in recent days and weeks, most recently surrounding George Floyd’s life being taken away.”
Michael also said that he wants to use his platform to let Eastern’s student-athletes know that he wants to provide an environment of “civility, equity, inclusion, understanding and respect.”
Michael was not the only member of Eastern Athletics to share his thoughts, as he pointed out.
“You have seen statements from many of our Eastern Illinois coaches that mentor young men and women of color,” he said.
Among the coaches that released statements are head football coach Adam Cushing and Director of Track and Field Brenton Emmanuel.
Cushing’ statement was posted to his Twitter account back on May 29.
“We as a team met this morning and openly discussed racial injustice in our country,” Cushing said. “I am hurt that our black players and coaches will raise children in a world different than my children. That they have more to overcome.”
Emmanuel tweeted his statement on May 31.
“I normally never post anything but EIUTF or my family, but that has changed today,” he said. “Reading all of these posts of frustration, anger, disappointment, of my family, my race, my frat, my current athletes, and former athletes. It has broken me.”
“I’m worried for us, I’m worried for my daughter, my daughter on the way, and my future kids,” Emmanuel said. “What type of life will they live? Will they have the opportunity to live that life to its fullest?”
Other members of the Eastern community have also shared their thoughts as protests continue across the country and the world.
Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]