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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dean's Message - February 1, 2021

Monday, February 1, 2021
Dean Jay shares reflections on Black History month.
Jaharis Building in the spring

Dear GSBS Community:

As Tufts University works to become an anti-racist institution, I have been moved by my attendance at a mandatory series of workshops on Anti-Racist Education for university leaders. I joined about 40 Deans and senior leadership — including President Monaco and Provost Aubry — who were engaged and humble as we worked to achieve awareness of structural racism and come up with actions to uproot it. It gives me hope for substantive change and I am very proud of our own school’s Anti-Racist Working Group of students, faculty and staff making a difference in this mission for GSBS.

Today marks the beginning of Black History month. I hope you will each reflect on this and do your part. I don’t usually discuss my artwork in this forum, but I have a project salient to this. It is called the Melanin Project and uses melanin (the pigment in human skin) to talk about race as a social rather than biological determinant. I make art using squid ink, which is composed of melanin. Melanin is a polymer of the amino acid tryptophan and I use the drawn chemical structure as a calligraphic mark to make art about social injustice. The Boston Public Library has sponsored me for a workshop and talk on the Melanin Project on Feb 19 and 26 with Boston youth from underserved communities. Together, we will make art expressing their feelings about race and social injustice.

Dan Jay, Dean