1. Opening Our Hearts to Orlando

    June 13, 2016

    On behalf of the University of Michigan community, I express my deepest sympathies to everyone affected by the horrific nightclub attack in Orlando. The tragic loss of so many innocent lives is unfathomable.

    We have been called upon far too frequently in recent months to reach out to help one another following terrible acts of violence. Members of our community come from all over the world, and when lives are taken during attacks in Baghdad, Beirut, Brussels, Paris, San Bernardino, Orlando, or elsewhere, a part of us – of this Michigan of ours – is devastated as well.

    We again face a test of our ability to unite as a community. I hope we can respect each other and understand that deadly attacks and their aftermaths affect each of us. We must reject all forms of discrimination, hatred, threats and violence, and instead focus on helping those who are grieving. We must continue to build a supportive environment for all members of our community.

    We can be proud of much of what we have seen in the hours since the tragedy. U-M community members have shared messages of sympathy, peace and love on social media and on our Diag. Our Spectrum Center has scheduled drop-in times for all students, faculty and staff to give and receive support: today from 4 to 6 p.m. and Friday from noon to 2 p.m.

    Five months ago, thousands of members of the University of Michigan family traveled to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl. Memories are still fresh of how the city and its people were so welcoming to those of us who made the trip.

    Today, we again join the people of Orlando and their loved ones, this time in spirit and in resolve. We open our hearts in mourning the innocents who were lost, and we stand together against the hatred and violence that perpetrated Sunday’s senseless tragedy.