Let’s start with gratitude.
On the back cover of our Spring 2020 issue, we promised another addition to our series of themed summer issues — just not the one we’d planned. The original theme of adventure will have to wait a while. Instead, we produced a special issue that highlights voices from our community — students, faculty, staff and alumni — as they navigate the demands of COVID-19’s emergence and ensuing havoc. We’re grateful to all who responded to our invitation to share personal perspectives of living and working during a global pandemic. This issue includes first-person essays accompanied by beautiful, thoughtful illustrations; visual art projects created in response to unfolding history and practical realities of life in quarantine; and interviews recorded with just a few of the many Rice alumni on the front lines of a health care crisis.
Continue with acknowledgments.
Rice has launched a comprehensive response to the ongoing pandemic, as COVID-19 is still very much with us in Houston, throughout the state and across the country and world. We’ll cover these initiatives affecting campus life, teaching and research in our Fall 2020 issue. More significantly, we have not yet turned our attention to the initial responses from the Rice community to the killing of George Floyd and other recent acts of violence against Black individuals. These tragic events have called forth an unprecedented examination of the ways we encounter and respond to systemic and everyday racism. As President David W. Leebron wrote to the Rice community and Rice Magazine readers, “There is anger and pain and fear across America, not because these are new things to deal with, but because they aren’t.”
And end with hope.
Many voices ringing out from our campus now — voices like that of Yvette Pearson, an associate dean at the George R. Brown School of Engineering, who recounted both her and her brother’s harrowing experiences of being stopped by police — are telling hard truths. Pearson also organized meetings — on Zoom, of course — for engineering students, faculty and staff to share their thoughts and to discuss ways to make their school a more just and equitable community. We are fortunate to be
part a of university that values open-hearted conversations, reflection and learning — and to have leadership that is taking meaningful actions on behalf of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. To read about these initial actions, go to news.rice.edu.