Dean Ruger’s statement to the community responding to killing of Walter Wallace
Dear Penn Law Community,
The killing of Walter Wallace, Jr. in our own West Philadelphia backyard this week is a stark reminder that our country’s reckoning with racial injustice has only just begun. Every life lost to anti-Black violence matters, but Walter Wallace was our neighbor, and his death just a few minutes away from our campus is particularly devastating. I extend my deepest condolences to the Wallace family, our West Philadelphia friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, as well as to all whose lives are touched by anti-Black violence not just today, but far too often. Mr. Wallace’s death and the resulting unrest on our streets serve as a somber reminder for us to even more deeply embrace our efforts to build a more inclusive Law School and to take seriously our responsibility to be a leader in promoting equity and justice beyond our campus.
In July, I announced the many ways in which the Law School will continue to work to support its community through expanded racial justice programming and affirmative steps toward an anti-racist future. Next week we will share additional steps we have taken to increase support for students and diversity initiatives; expand programing and courses about critical matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and review our campus to ensure that we are not unduly honoring those who have laid the bricks on which systemic racism rests comfortably today.
I am grateful to all of you for your persistent dedication to equity and justice and look forward to continuing our work to building a just and anti-racist future.