HSS Call to Action Statement:
Dear Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Students,
On the first Thursday of June, as we do on the first Thursday of every month, we held
our HSS Department Chairs meeting. It has been our practice this year to begin our
meetings with issues of equity. Two of our psychology faculty members made a presentation
to us on trauma. It was very helpful to everyone to understand the impact trauma
has on not only our students, but fellow faculty as well. Following the presentation
and a lot of discussion about how we and our students have been impacted by the global
pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, our discussion turned to broader themes
of justice and equity. We talked about how our students of color are impacted every
day by our practices, what they must go through to navigate our classes and life.
As one faculty member said, “My eyes have been opened.”
After that powerful conversation, I wanted to turn to action. I did not want the
moment to be squandered. The global pandemic is not a once in a lifetime event; it
is a once in a century event. This is in stark contrast to the murder of George Floyd
by a white police officer, which is something our Black students and colleagues have
experienced all too often and live in fear of happening to them or their loved ones.
One of the hallmarks of community colleges is their response to the needs of their
community, and one of the roles now is to work together to create a just, equitable,
and inclusive education for all.
Now that our eyes are being opened, how do we turn this moment into action? How
do we move this moment beyond talk? How do we make systemic change?
I did not believe, as a white woman (and to keep it real, an old white woman), that
I should lead the call to action. However, everyone needs to heed the call. Asked
if white people should just get out of the way, rapper and activist Killer Mike (Mike
Rendon) responded, “But what I need white America to do beyond right now, is understand that right
now is always. It isn’t just helping in the now – it is being a part of fixing it
Then five HSS faculty members contacted me and asked for a meeting. During the meeting,
they challenged me to support a bi-weekly series of talks where administration, faculty,
staff, and students come together as a community to broaden our awareness of equity
issues and develop action plans that we each can take to enact change against racism.
The intent is to move from conversations to action and improved outcomes for students.
Welcome to the launch of a bi-weekly series, beginning next week, focused on “fixing”
issues of equity. Come be part of the conversation and the solution. Next Tuesday,
I will be the inaugural speaker, talking about what it means to be equity-minded.