2020-05-31T21:40:30-07:00
Image: Scenes from around campus

Peralta Executive Leadership Statement

31 May 2020

The world watched as Mr. George Floyd lay dying an excruciatingly slow death as a Police officer knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds – an eternity if you are simply trying to breathe.  By now, most of us have seen this video and have had the experience of watching someone die – invoking a kind of anguish that is inconsolable.

We want to acknowledge that pain and anguish.  As a community, we are in the midst of responding to a pandemic that has already killed more than 100,000 people in the United States (disproportionately, black and brown people) and we have mobilized our institutional resources to continue to carry out the mission of the district – to continue to empower and transform the community through education.

However, the killing of Mr. Floyd reminds us that long before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had another epidemic, the legally sanctioned and systematically structured brutality and destruction of black people – people of the African diaspora.  And each “outbreak” of this epidemic – whether it is started by being black and jogging, shopping, driving, or birdwatching, re-opens the wounds and intractable pain of longstanding racism.

We invite you to share ideas you may have that support us all in learning and growing in this space of racial literacy and critical consciousness.  We are committed to the responsible use of our positions to support the Peralta Community College District family and we invite you to do the same.  You may consider:

  • Using your professional or academic expertise to convene forums and panels that provide discussion, exploration, and reflection on structural, historical, and systemic racism.
  • Sharing a list of helpful resources.
  • Sharing ideas on how we may support the community and engage in anti-racist efforts.
  • Accessing your MHN Employee Assistance Program (Company code: Peralta) services.

Ms. Kaitlin Smith, marketing and communications writer for Facing History and Ourselves, recently posted a Facing History Blog entitled “Bearing Witness: The Death of George Floyd”.  In it, she invites one to “…explore the resources below as you process this tragedy and the broader histories of violence in which it is embedded:”

Our students and community deserve the leadership that we all can bring to bear on this challenge.  Reach out to your respective leaders if you need us or have ideas for us.  We want you to know, that with every ounce of our being, we are here with and for you as members of the Peralta Community College District family.

Signed,

  • Dr. Siri Brown
  • Dr. Angélica Garcia
  • Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson
  • Dr. David Johnson
  • Mr. Mark Johnson
  • Dr. Tim Karas
  • Mr. Antoine Mehouelly
  • Dr. Leigh Sata
  • Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud
  • Delisle Warden, JD
  • Chanelle Whittaker, JD

Additionally, across the district messages were shared responding to this terrible tragedy, touching on the larger issues that it raises. Below are letters sent from the chancellor and the four college presidents.

Chancellor Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud
Berkeley City College President Dr. Angélica Garcia
College of Alameda President Dr. Timothy Karas
Laney College President Dr. Tammeil Y. Gilkerson
Merritt College President Dr. David M. Johnson

Filed under: Announcements, Peralta News, Press Release

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