Dear Friends,

This has been a difficult message for me to write as I am having a hard time finding the right words. I hope you will read this note with an open heart because right now, we need more open hearts.

It is a sad time for our country and a painful one for so many of us. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others have once again exposed the racism and injustice that have plagued America since its founding, leaving in its wake sadness, confusion, anger, disappointment, and heartbreak. On our televisions and on our streets, we have seen some of the worst of America. We have seen the senseless killing of a man calling out for breath and subsequent violence. And we have also seen some of the best of America. We have seen remarkable acts of kindness, courage, and humanity, and the great strength of so many who have called – and continue to call – for change.

We at the YAA stand in solidarity with those calling for change. We stand with the black community, our alumni who are hurting right now, and everyone who stands up against racism, hatred, intolerance, and injustice. As a society, we must do better. We must be better. And we will be a force for good in effecting that change.

The YAA’s mission cites that our character, strength, and values come from our diversity and our commitment to a culture of inclusion and equity, and our core values include openness, inclusion, and impact. We did not choose these idly, and now is a time for us, and all alumni, to stand on the side of what’s right and to call out and rally against that which is not.

This is not a moment to turn away. We cannot pretend racism does not exist within our communities and bias does not exist within ourselves. What can we do? With open hearts, we can learn more about the complex issues and histories; we can engage in uncomfortable and difficult conversations by asking why and listening; we can share our stories. The YAA will support these efforts.

We all want to improve the world we live in. I see so many of you working to find solutions in our communities. Thank you. And while I know the pain I feel at what I’ve seen recently, and can only imagine the pain experienced by so many of you, I take solace that I am part of a university and a community that believes in the values of justice and compassion, and that I am part of an alumni body that represents those ideals each and every day.

We have the great privilege of having attended Yale. We should exercise that privilege to support compassion, justice, and fairness for all.

Best regards,

Weili

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