June 5 Message from the CECW
Dear BHCC Community,
Last week we witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, rather it is but one example of a pattern of racism, abuse of power, and violence against black bodies that has become all too familiar. We have also witnessed protests erupting in cities across the country, including our own, as community members stand in solidarity to condemn this violence and demand justice.
Many of us are experiencing waves of emotion, including: rage, sadness, grief, frustration, fear, and exhaustion. Many of us have been here before. In addition to George Floyd, consider the most recent examples of senseless killings of black people, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubrey, and these black Americans https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed killed by law enforcement.
Racism is not new; racially-motivated violence is horrifically commonplace in the United States and around the world, and has been for centuries. That reality is as enraging as the state-initiated murder we witnessed of George Floyd.
Our Core Beliefs
The CECW is committed to equity, social and racial justice and inclusion. Our work over the last decade has been directed at fostering inclusive educational spaces that reflect and value our diversity and cultural wealth and that produce equitable outcomes for all members of our community. This work makes us a better, stronger BHCC.
Nothing threatens equity more than tolerating or staying silent in the face of inequality and inequity. And what is more inequitable than some agents of the state abusing their power and using their authority to target and kill its own citizens?
As educators, we must also face the reality that the U.S. education system has long functioned to reproduce and perpetuate systemic inequities and injustice. It is our duty to stand up to and eradicate the systemic racism that pervades our institution and our profession.
Where do we go from here?
The CECW openly and unequivocally condemns the inhumane and racist actions of the Minneapolis police, and we call our community of educators and learners—all of us—to take action against systemic and institutional racism.
We are taking action in the following ways:
- Listen. We will re-open our drop-in sessions as a space for colleagues to voice their frustrations, rage, sadness, or to just be silent, listen and reflect in community.
- Engage our community. We will create a dialogue series that will feature ‘brave spaces’ for active reflection and processing that we might be too afraid, too polite, or too unprepared to have in other contexts.
- Amplify your voices. We will use the collective power of the Center to highlight your narratives and questions.
- Collaborate. We will develop and strengthen partnerships on campus and in the community to align our work and resources in support of combating systemic and institutional racism.
- Advocate. We will advocate that our core mission and values drive decisions, policies, procedures, structures and practices, and we will hold the institution and each other accountable for dismantling systemic racism.
What Can I Do?
Below are some steps you can take to stand in solidarity with our black colleagues, students, and communities and support the work ahead:
- Listen.You can commit to actively listen to black and brown voices with an open mind and empathy.
- Reflect. You can engage in ongoing reflection on racial injustice and systemic racism as they impact our lives, our work and our workplace.
- Critically examine. You can fully engage in the ongoing work of examining and deconstructing your own biases and stereotypes.
- Grow. You can change your beliefs, attitudes and behaviors, and support and challenge your colleagues, family and friends to do the same.
- Repeat. You can commit to the iterative, ongoing process of discovery, growth and transformation for racial justice by continually reengaging steps 1 through 4.
Perhaps at no other point in BHCC’s 47-year history has our struggle to be our best selves been compounded by such trying circumstances. However, we’ve demonstrated over the last few months that when faced with a crisis, we work collaboratively to problem solve and support each other and live up to our aspirational language. Make no mistake: the continued systemic violence against Black people is a crisis for us all. And the CECW is firmly committed to drawing upon our collective strengths and resources to address this crisis and create the BHCC we envision ourselves to be.
Center for Equity and Wealth
Lee Santos Silva, Director
Miguel Zepeda Torres