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On a sunny day in Armidale, after a week of wind and snow, we should be celebrating good fortune in life – believe me I am. After pandemic, bushfires and drought (and a painful fall off my bike!) I am counting my blessings…

Under normal circumstances I would now reflect with no small measure of enthusiasm upon my week, and as per my usual practice share various details of life at UNE, in and around our community, and details of conversations with colleagues, peers and students.

Reconciliation by Llyod Hornsby
Sadly, all I have to say today is that every life still matters and I hope that my small collection of notes swells a chorus of voices saying ‘Black Lives Matter’.

George Floyd was a 46-year-old black male who died on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (US) after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed, lying face down in the street.

I strongly hold to the belief that UNE staff and students will in various ways be equally disturbed, upset and challenged by the fact that such brutality is possible. As we go about our normal lives, enjoying the long weekend and the freedoms which fall naturally to us, let us also remember in some way the loss of this life and all that it symbolises. Do one thing to make a difference.

(Untitled) by Michael Snape
There are many anthems which speak to freedom and equality; this week my fingers went straight to Billie and the lyrics of Strange Fruit which are comforting, as well as challenging.

No apologies for my somewhat serious voice; stay safe, enjoy the break and celebrate your freedom. 


Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO