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April 21, 2021 – Marking this moment of accountability

Posted April 21, 2021, 4:03 PM by Tayler Harriman

Dear CCA Community,

Like many of you, I watched the news closely yesterday afternoon, waiting to learn the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. When the verdict came—guilty on all counts—it was an emotional moment, a historic moment, a milestone within a long process of awareness, action, and accountability that has engaged much of our country in a new way since the day George Floyd was murdered 11 months ago. It was also, importantly, a moment we must mark—as a positive step in a process, not an endpoint—and then keep going, keep working, keep demanding true and lasting change in this country.

I am heartened by this verdict, but I am also aware of its rarity. According to the New York Times, there have been only seven murder convictions of officers for fatal police shootings since 2005—1 conviction for every 2,000 killings. Even as we welcomed the verdict yesterday, we learned that Ma'Khia Bryant, just 16 years old, had been shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio, that very afternoon. There is much work to be done.

In the midst of a year of unfathomable loss, grief, and outrage, yesterday’s verdict offered a moment of relief and a sign of hope. Hope that change is possible, that those in power may be held accountable, that equity, justice, and reparations for past harms are achievable goals.

We are fortunate at CCA to have so many within our community who are committed to these goals, who will not let the systemic racism that has stained our country throughout its history continue to stand. I am honored and humbled by the opportunity I’ve had to work this past year with a group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni—led fiercely and fearlessly by our students—to identify racism and inequity within our own college and develop a framework to address it on a systemic level. I am inspired by our students, who have not—and should not—let up on their demands, even over the course of an emotionally and physically draining year. They provide incredible energy to this movement, and it is the job of all of us to keep that energy, to honor it, and to use it to move forward.

One concrete action from these discussions is the creation of a senior leadership position, reporting directly to me, to advance and operationalize diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at CCA. We are in the final stages of identifying a search firm to partner with us in the hiring process, a process that will engage our entire campus community. I look forward to sharing more details soon.

In this moment and looking to the future, I am grateful for this community of creative citizens, and look forward to continuing our work together.

Take care,

Steve

Resources

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging resources

Counseling Services [CCA mental health crisis hotline: +1 510-594-5099]

Office of the Dean of Students – Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement