We cannot remain silent in the face of continued anti-Black racism, state-sanctioned violence, and racial capitalism. The recent state targeted murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Steven Taylor are a few of the countless examples of how white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and misogynoir are embedded within the U.S. American institutions, including institutions of higher education.
Time and time again, as we witness Black people harmed on the streets, at home, in jails, in hospitals, at parks, in prisons and at schools– we must remember that racism is systemic and fundamental for the production and reproduction of violence. The current community uprisings across the U.S. comes with the devastating effects of COVID-19 as the backdrop. Many in our communities are dealing with the disproportionate impacts of losing loved ones, unemployment, deportations, low-wages, unsafe working conditions, homelessness, housing insecurity, and food insecurity, while simultaneously being faced with a violent wave of unmitigated terror by militarized police forces that utilize violence to maintain the status quo.
As an institution of higher education, we must deepen our commitments to abolitionist frameworks in all aspects of the college, from curriculum, to pedagogy to shared governance to funding. It is not enough to point out the histories of anti-Blackness, nor simply call it out. We must actively rebuild our institutions to facilitate repair and healing, and provide relief from the generations of trauma our communities carry with them to our campuses.
This moment requires deep reflection with both immediate and long-term actions. Take action today by following the Movement for Black Lives leadership and learn about ways you can support the current Week of Action In Defense of Black Lives.. Donate to local and national bail funds local and national bail funds and Black led grassroots organizations like the Anti Police Terror Project, Black Youth Project 100, and BlackOut Collective. As we work to transform our institutions, may we look to the rich history of struggle right here in Oakland–in fact, right here in the Peralta Community College District. Let us be guided by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten-Point Platform written in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, to ground us in an abolitionist vision for the present and future.
Dana Grisby, African American Studies
Alicia Caballero-Christenson, Mexican/Latin American Studies
Roger Chung, Ethnic Studies
On behalf of the Laney College Ethnic Studies Department