Dear Friends and Colleagues, This is a devastating and heartbreaking time in our country. We stand with you in solidarity and we struggle to find the words to express the sadness we feel at the senseless death of another unarmed Black citizen in the custody of the police.
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown and many, many others have lost their lives as victims of violence and racism. A culture of violence led to the killing of Josiah Lawson.These lives were taken because a system or a person or a group decided they did not matter. Today, in our communities and in our nation, we are called to make positive change. As a leadership team, we are committed to working, partnering, and leading that change on campus and beyond. We stand with you.
We share with you a collective commitment to a society in which all public officials are held accountable for advancing the well-being of the people they serve. We dream with you of a system of justice that consistently upholds human dignity and the equal protection of law. We know it is possible if we demand it and if we work for it. We will continue this work together.
Although college campuses are designed to be communities of thought and study, they are also communities of care. Along with students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the HSU community who are near and far, we share feelings of pain for the lives lost to senseless brutality and violence. This is when the community and family of Humboldt State becomes most important. It is OK to talk to each other. It is OK to sit together in silence and process. It is OK to speak to a faculty member or campus professional you have a relationship with. It is OK to talk with someone from the counseling center. It is OK to reach out to the director of one of the cultural centers or participate in one of the cultural centers’ zoom chats. It is OK to talk to and support each other. It is OK to be angry. It is OK to participate in acts of social justice that champion ending systematic racism.
Please know that there are members of our community who will listen and who care. There are members of our community who worry about their own safety and the safety of their children or their siblings or their parents or their friends. There are members of our community who are worried about their families living under curfew and increased law enforcement presence. The stress and pain of this, even as we endure the ongoing pandemic, is difficult to bear. It is OK to reach out for support.
We must work together to continue asking the hard questions and producing answers that may be difficult for those in power or positions of privilege to accept. This is not the time to be fearful of causing discomfort to those who perpetuate the violence. We must challenge those who inflict physical, mental, or emotional harm because they actively or passively support systems of racism. A desire for systematic change compels us to work together to disrupt the racism that has beget violence in our nation. It begins with our work in the classroom and around the campus to listen and seek to more fully understand the many events that have led us to this point. It begins by our work in the communities to challenge those who view black existence as a threat.
We believe in the power of higher education for the social transformation we all seek. Our fields of inquiry promote the value of all humanity and challenge the dehumanization at the root of violence. We are more committed than ever to the promise of critical thought and the application of the study of the dynamics of race and power. We know that HSU is and must continue to be an important partner in the equity and racial justice work we must do together in our communities. It is in our collective work and the dreams and determination of our students that we find hope. We must build upon this hope to create a society where future generations are freed from the oppression, violence, and harm caused by racism. Together, we can.
With Respect & In Solidarity,
Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr. President Dr. Lisa Bond-Maupin Interim Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs Doug Dawes Vice President, Administrative Affairs Sherie Gordon Chief of Staff Christina Lofthouse Interim Chief of Police Dr. Jason L. Meriwether Vice President, Enrollment Management Jane Teixeira Director, Intercollegiate Athletics Frank Whitlatch Vice President, Advancement