Photograph by Brian Palmer

I am writing for the very first time because I was absolutely blown away by the cover of the Autumn 2020 UR Magazine. Richmond has a long way to go in the way of race relations; however, it is refreshing to see that my school is stepping out and leading the way toward justice and equity for all.

UR Magazine editors, staff, and all persons involved in making the decision to move with this cover, thank you, and again, thank you for seeking equality for all Richmond alumni.
—Chivonne A.S. Thomas, L’09
Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands

A picture of a vandalized historical monument, which included messages like “war” and “acab” (if you don’t know what that means, look it up), was a strange and disappointing choice for the most recent cover of the alumni magazine.

While issues of racial injustice in policing and unequal sentencing are certainly legit issues that can be the subject of a story and should be addressed in society, an image that seemingly affirms the destruction of property by lawless means as well as messages of war and hateful language toward police is really remarkable. Pretty thoughtless.
—Michael Petusky, B’91
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

I wanted to reach out to express my gratitude for your feature. This is an immensely important topic that everyone should be confronting, discussing, and educating themselves on. Particularly given the city of Richmond’s Confederate past and glorification of its racist history, this feature seemed exceptionally pertinent, to say nothing of U of R’s own less than sterling record with acknowledging and addressing racism on and off campus.

Keep doing what you’re doing. This isn’t a time to shy away from the difficult conversations.
—Adam Davis, ’12
Brunswick, Maine

I firmly believe all Black lives matter, but I don't believe in the promotion of rioting, looting, destruction of property, etc. This is exactly, in my opinion, what the cover and interior photos promote. The cover photo could very easily have been “No America Without Black America” minus the graffiti-desecrated photo of the Robert E. Lee monument.

If you desire peace and equality for all, you do not promote civil disobedience. You respect the rights spelled out in the Constitution of the United States and apply them to all, regardless of race. You offer respect to any human being as you would expect it to be offered to you. I am personally unaware of any location in my beloved country that promotes civil disobedience and rioting in order to right a wrong. We have a court system in this country to right wrongs.
—Andrew E. Gunn Jr., R’66
Glen Allen, Virginia

I am highly offended by the Autumn 2020 magazine cover.

I am disturbed you would choose a photograph which depicts multiple anti-law enforcement references, including “F12,” “ACAB,” and “FTP.”
—Bryan Evans, ’04
Buffalo, New York

I wanted to say how happy and proud I am of the most recent cover of the magazine. It is poignant, timely, artful, and perfectly political. Every single Black alum I have spoken to about it was initially shocked but ultimately super-proud because we all know UR has a sordid and, frankly, racist history, so this feels like a full-circle moment of poetic justice. Thank you for being bold with this decision.

This was a powerful and extremely meaningful moment for many UR alumni.
—Kadeem Alphanso Fyffe, ’13
New York City

While racial unrest is an important story, the despicable acts of violence on a tribute to a once-dignified general of a past country conflict as a show of “support” for the cause did not need to be glorified on the cover of the magazine and then again on the inside.

No doubt — at least I can only hope — there was considerable discussion around highlighting this destructive behavior by placing such an image on the cover. This type of news can be covered in a more dignified and respectable manner without splashy photos of a defaced monument originally placed in recognition of a mighty leader. This is not the UR approach I am accustomed to witnessing as an alumnus. I’ll be canceling my magazine subscription and any further donations to an institution that prefers to overtly and recklessly emphasize vandalizing public structures as a means to demonstrate discontent.
—David Taylor, R’81
Apex, North Carolina

I’m sure that there are some alumni that are angry with the imagery on the cover but please know, it is necessary and it is wonderful.
—Keyona Ham Hargett, ’01
Fort Washington, Maryland

I love your cover and applaud you for putting it front and center. Not only is it powerful artistically, but it is a powerful message. We need to change our old tired — not even sure what the word is; ethics doesn’t fit. Yes, my forebears fought in the Civil War, but we need to examine and update our approach. Black Lives Matter.
—Jo Burnette Cooper, W’70
Mill Valley, California

I have just received my Autumn 2020 copy and find the cover inappropriate and disgraceful, below the dignity of UR.

As an alumnus and father of an alumna,  as well as a history major during my time at UR, I am appalled. If you knew the backstory of the BLM movement, you would never have printed such a cover. BLM is a Marxist, socialist movement bent on destroying our republic as founded. I am totally disappointed with my university.
—Keith Wayland, R’70

Thank you for your Autumn 2020 issue. It reinforced my Spider Pride. The arresting cover, variety of topics, diversity of people and viewpoints, and blend of old and new all said, “Look at me. Read me next.” Great way to spend an afternoon.
—Ken Elsea, R’70
St. George Island, Florida