President’s Diversity Advisory Committee (PDAC) Juneteenth statement

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Black Lives Matter.

George Floyd’s life was stolen by a white police officer. We witness that his life was taken as result of systemic racist practice and the authorities who uphold it. A bankrupt system of violence, oppression, brutality and aggression that must be reformed. 

We respond to this atrocity with our eyes opened demanding change. We hear and see the pain of our communities. We cannot change this pain but we can provide a path to bring justice, and reform to defeat racism. Being “not racist” is not adequate. We must be anti-racist.

As the co-chairs of the Santa Fe Community College President’s Diversity Advisory Committee, we have thought long and hard, we have engaged in many difficult conversations and have been vulnerable to our community to arrive at this statement.

It is with intention that this message goes out to our college community, students and colleagues on Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a seminal moment in the lives, history and heritage of our African American communities. It is a powerful and symbolic day. It is the day when the news of emancipation, what was supposed to be the end of slavery and genocide, reached those still enslaved in Texas – the last enslaved Americans of the Confederacy.

Black lives matter. Trans Black lives matter. Trans Black women’s lives matter.

June is PRIDE month – we will visibly celebrate our LGBTQI2S+ communities and amplify their voices.

Today on Juneteenth we say the names of black people murdered by police brutality and white supremacy.

We say them out-loud.  Pronounced properly, with respect. With power.

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Atatiana Jefferson. Eric Garner. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Treyvon Martin. Sandra Bland. Robert Fuller. Malcom Marsh. Dustin Parker. Monika Diamond. Nina Pop. Lexi. Rayshad Brooks.

These past few weeks— especially within the context of these past few months—have been exponentially more difficult for communities of color. While the global pandemic has had a profound impact on everyone, it has had a disproportionately negative impact on our nation’s most marginalized and vulnerable, laying bare the entrenched and systemic inequities that are, tragically, part of the fabric of our society.

For months, we have seen the racist and xenophobic treatment of people of Asian descent concerning the novel coronavirus (COVID 19). We see exponentially and disproportionally higher numbers of African Americans and Indigenous people being decimated by COVID-19. Indigenous people disappear, primarily women and girls, at alarming and disproportionate rates. We still have people in cages on our southern border. The pandemic has glaringly unveiled the enormous inequalities impacting people of color, including poverty, access to quality and affordable health care and food security. We will not look away.

The cumulative effect of these and other lived realities of our colleagues, students, and friends of color must be named and recognized; we must see and understand the trauma and exhaustion being experienced in our SFCC family and greater communities. This phenomenon is called “battle fatigue” – we are on a journey as a country to refuse to stand any longer for systemic racism, oppression and discrimination.

We do not intend to traumatize or re-traumatize through this statement. We do intend to speak of what must be dismantled to achieve social and racial justice. Here begins a path of healing and reconciliation of our marginalized communities and for people of color. To heal trauma, it must be named and spoken about. It is uncomfortable. It is messy. It is scary. It is necessary.

Our commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice means that we all must acknowledge our own participation in maintaining systems of oppression while working to challenge and dismantle these systems, within our own spheres of influence

In solidarity with Black Lives Matter, the President’s Diversity Advisory Committee acknowledges the racist power structures in higher education that enable white privilege, and we commit to dismantle them.

We will expand professional development opportunities for staff and faculty to embody anti-racism practices and to promote social justice.

We will continue to hold difficult conversations through conversational forums, to deeply listen, and to translate our learning into change.

We will continue to hold ourselves, our leadership and our institution, accountable to make SFCC inclusive, hospitable, safe and equitable to all.

As part of this and as architects of our world and culture/s, we can deconstruct and re-construct what no longer serves us as a college community. We each have the power to achieve transformational change, and we will do it together.

We are called to act. 

In Solidarity,

Meghan McGarrity and Dr. Brooke Beaverheart Gondara (Northern Cheyenne)
Co-Chairs, SFCC PDAC

June 19, 2020