Dear Berkeley Lab Community,
As we watch the events in the Middle East continue to unfold since last week, I find the level of suffering and human impact in Israel and Gaza shocking and difficult to watch, as it must be for many of you.
In his letter earlier this week, our Lab Director Mike Witherell stated that the violence we’ve already seen is at an unimaginable scale, and I am heartbroken to see the continued escalation of conflict in Israel and Gaza and the devastating loss of thousands of innocent lives, including children.
Berkeley Lab is an international community, with over 80 countries represented. As such, the IDEA Office has heard from many of our colleagues who are personally affected, including those who have loved ones residing in the area. I share in their feelings of grief and concern, and I can’t imagine the fear and stress they are dealing with on a daily basis.
This situation in the Middle East is complex and can be polarizing, but we should not ignore the impact it might have on our colleagues. We ask that you show understanding and compassion for your co-workers during this time. Check in and let them know that you are here to support them. Though they might not want to talk about it, this small act of acknowledgment matters more than you might think.
As a reminder, we encourage you to seek support and prioritize your own health – both mental and physical – in this difficult time. Available resources include:
- Employee Assistance Program – no cost confidential counseling and referral for Berkeley Lab employees.
- Community warm lines and support services
- Mental Health Insurance Benefits
- Healthy & Well at LBNL – general wellness and self-care resources
For supervisors, managers, and team members, I want to share three articles with you about inclusive leadership during moments of crisis:
- How to Be an Inclusive Leader Through a Crisis – Harvard Business Review
- Talking About Mental Health with Your Employees — Without Overstepping – Harvard Business Review
- Michelle MiJung Kim’s advice for traumatic events – Medium
Finally, the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley shared the following resources:
- Greater Good Resources for Peace and Conflict
- How to Talk With Kids About the War in Gaza and Israel
This is a moment to stand together and demonstrate our commitment to community, belonging, and inclusion at Berkeley Lab. We are here for one another and please continue to hold space for those who need support.
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer