On Tuesday of this week over 125 PVCC students, faculty and staff participated in an engaging and meaningful virtual all-college meeting to listen, better understand, and to “hold a mirror up to” our collective response to the continued deaths of African-Americans while in police custody. The conversation was ably facilitated by Dr. Cathy Mendoza with featured insights from Brian Wilson, Kevin Smith and Daniel Sanchez.
I’ve had the opportunity to read over 17 pages of comments transcribed from the chat during the conversation. Additionally, under the leadership of Dr. Versha Anderson and Dr. Norma Chandler, co-chairs of PVCC’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, a “top ten” of actionable items have been distilled from the listening session.
As I publicly stated during the conversation, in spite of our concerted and passionate efforts from faculty and staff driven by long standing Diversity and Inclusion Goals directing our work and our commitment to Equity Now, we as an organization have been inadequate and fallen short in reaching our goals.
This recent listening session has given me a renewed sense of energy and commitment, a series of new ideas, and solutions that can be scaled across the college. Next steps beginning immediately include: meeting with employee constituency groups; formulation of a college action plan; integration of the action plan into our existing diversity and inclusion goals; and creating new levels of leadership accountability to ensure we make sustained and notable progress.
We must continue to acknowledge that equal justice is in fact not equal as evidenced by the deaths of George Floyd while in the custody of police and Breonna Taylor, shot by police in her apartment, and locally Dion Johnson killed not far from PVCC. In a painful and clearly tragic way, we are reminded that Black Lives Matter.
Again my deepest thanks to all of the faculty, staff and students committed to moving our diversity and inclusion agenda forward in a stronger and more robust manner. Details on next steps will be shared soon.