I am writing to express my outrage and sadness at the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, Monika Diamond, Dominique Fells, Nina Pop and other unarmed Black people throughout recent time. I am deeply disturbed by the physical and systemic violence and inhumane responses by law enforcement against those protesting racist violence against Black people.
Santa Fe Community College’s mission — Empower Students, Strengthen Community and our institutional values, including We Value People — embody the college’s core principles and support our commitment to stand in solidarity with the lives of our Black community members and the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement for justice has gained momentum in recent weeks.
While it is part of my duty to listen deeply at this time, I also want to express my solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and its efforts to liberate the Black community from white supremacy.
However, a statement of solidarity is insufficient without a call to action. We as students, faculty and staff must be proactive in our efforts to abolish anti-Blackness. We must be willing to look at ourselves in the mirror, search for hard truths and explore how our own institution confronts and responds to inequity and racial bias.
I recognize that members of our own community, whether students, staff or faculty, have been and continue to be disproportionately impacted by police violence, and I want you to know that each of you is a valuable member of our SFCC family. We stand for and with you.
It is not enough to oppose racism. We must be proactively anti-racist.
I call on students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Santa Fe community to engage in the historic and collective work that must take place to ensure the rights of our community members to live free from racism and inhumane treatment, both on an individual and systematic level. I invite and challenge all in our community to create plans of action that seek to create spaces that allow for work toward justice rather than spaces that support comfort and complacency. It is crucial that our entire community engage in extensive, official and personal actions.
I am actively gathering input from a variety of college and community sources to formulate action plans based on feedback from students, shared governance, human resources and the President’s Diversity Advisory Committee. SFCC will examine policies and change those that compromise the equity we strive to promote.
Becky Rowley, Ph.D., is the president of Santa Fe Community College.
Note: This column appeared in the July 19, 2020 edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican.