The following is a letter sent to the Mitchell Hamline community on Monday by the undersigned leaders below:
Dear students, staff, and faculty:
Daunte Wright should be alive. Yesterday he was killed at the hands of local law enforcement in our community.
The tragedy of another Black man killed at the hands of police is heartbreaking and traumatic. Many of us feel triggered and traumatized by this latest of several such cases coming as it does in the middle of the Derek Chauvin trial, and after countless years, decades, and centuries of racist legal attacks on the Black community. On a very deep and personal level, we mourn together. The wrongful killings of Black people by police officers must stop. We offer our deepest sympathies to and stand with Daunte Wright’s family and friends and add our voices to the outrage the community is expressing at his senseless killing.
While it is our job at Mitchell Hamline to teach students about the criminal justice system, we do so knowing it’s a flawed and too often racist system that must change. Our job is also to protect, support, and educate students to become the next generation of lawyers, advocates, and community leaders who will help make those changes.
But we must do more. We must do everything we can to dismantle systemic racism in the criminal justice system, and we know that none of it comes in time to make a difference for George Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Jamar Clark or, yesterday, for Daunte.
While details continue to unfold, we join with the calls of the community seeking justice for Daunte, his family, and our community.
Please take care of yourselves and one another, and please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of us for any assistance or support we can provide.
Anthony Niedwiecki, President and Dean
Sharon Van Leer, Senior Program Manager, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Rick Petry, Program Manager, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Amber Goodwin, President, Mitchell Hamline Student Bar Association
Aretha Haynes, President, Mitchell Hamline Black Law Students Association
Lynn LeMoine, Dean of Students
Deanna Burns, Chair, DEI Activities and Events Committee
MHSL Counseling Services. All of our counselors continue to operate remotely using telehealth and are accepting appointments now. If you would like to schedule an appointment for confidential counseling services click on an available appointment through the Counseling Services webpage (click on the make an appointment link). If you do not see an appointment time that works for you, please email to explore other possible times.
LCL. Confidential assistance is available 24/7 from Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. You can speak to a counselor at any time at 651-646-5590. You can also call LCL’s counseling providers at Sand Creek directly 24 hours a day at 651-430-3383 or Toll-free: 1-888-243-5744. Mention that you are calling for LCL.
Other Lawyer Assistance Programs. For students in other locations outside of Minnesota, you are also encouraged to contact your local lawyer assistance program for the same free, confidential services you may receive from Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers in Minnesota. Here is a link to the information in all jurisdictions.
Text help for young people of color. The Steve Fund is an organization that specifically focuses on mental health for young people of color. They have a crisis text line, where students of color can text STEVE to 741741 and receive a live Crisis Counselor response.
Chauvin Trial Student Discussions. Hosted by the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion invites you to join us for a series of drop-in discussions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:00 pm CDT regarding the trials of four Minneapolis police officers who have been charged with criminal offenses relating to the death of George Floyd. These discussions will focus on three general topics: 1) the legal and practical issues that arise during the trial, 2), the personal impact these matters may be having on our students, and 3) the greater social impact arising from these matters. We also invite students to inform us about topics they want to learn more about. Join via Zoom.