Dean Neil B. Guterman on Coming Together in a Time of Crisis
On January 8, 2021, NYU Silver Dean Neil B. Guterman sent the following message to NYU Silver students, faculty, staff, and alumni:
To the Silver Community,
I write in the wake of the deeply disturbing and disheartening events that occurred on Wednesday in Washington, DC, when violent rioters stormed the Capitol to disrupt Congress’ certification of our national election results.
The insurrection on the “people’s house” was an assault on the foundational pillar of our democracy, our election, and its results. It was also an assault on facts and truth -- that a legitimate and verified election was smeared as “fraudulent.” Representative government, equitable laws, and elections are not merely noble ends in themselves, but are there to serve the nation, our communities, and our families, and therefore, it was a direct assault on us all. And we cannot ignore the passivity of law enforcement in the face of the violent white mob, which stands in painfully stark contrast to the aggressive police tactics used against Black and Brown protesters seeking racial and social justice in the past year and throughout our nation’s history.
I recognize that these were disturbing events rooted in America’s legacy of racial reconstruction and segregation and in many ways traumatizing to members of our community. I encourage you to seek support in our community and to care for yourself and others.
As we continue to process these events, we invite all faculty, students, staff, and alums to come together in community on Tuesday, January 12, at 4:00 p.m. EST. A Zoom link is being shared with members of the Silver community.
As important as it is that we prioritize self-care, it is also incumbent on each of us to reflect upon our responses and ways we can each work to ‘double down’ and enact the values of our profession. The aims of social work are deeply intertwined with those of democracy – the value, worth and power of the individual, family, communities, and self-determination and self-governance -- and particularly in service of communities and those most vulnerable. We must continue our tireless efforts both here at Silver and in our communities to dismantle systemic racism and eliminate all forms of oppression and injustice that have so deeply harmed Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
As President Hamilton noted in his message from Wednesday, this is a time to stay strong and united in our collective values. We are in a period of reckoning in America where our values, principles, and actions are on the line, but I remain optimistic that in the long run, we will turn this crisis into an opportunity to strengthen our democracy, our institutions, and our democratic processes, to strengthen our social fabric, and to prevent the rise of another demagogue like we have seen over the past four years.
Neil B. Guterman
Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor