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Anti-Racist Resources: Statements of Support and Reflection

This guide is designed to share anti-racist resources and expand anti-racism work within Highline College and our community.

Introduction

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“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” –Nelson Mandela

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” —Maya Angelou

Highline College Statements of Support and Reflection

John R. Mosby (President of Highline College)

Excerpt from his statement:
"Some of you have heard me speak about the writer James Baldwin. I often mention him when speaking on campus and throughout the community. However, I have rarely said why this individual has provided me so much comfort, motivation and desire to serve over the years. . . .   When times are good and in challenging times, Baldwin’s work vividly resonates the feelings and attitudes of many. He was fearless, proud, unapologetic, yet a sensitive individual who hurt and desperately wanted to be “loved” in his country but never quite felt accepted. I believe all of us can relate to that feeling - desire to be included but yet feeling miles away from that happening."

 

 

Aaron Reader (V.P. of Student Services)

Excerpt from his statement:
"To understand why there is justifiable anger and frustration in the black community, we must know that this injustice and these killings are not happening in isolation. It is also important to acknowledge that earlier in May, there was the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, an African American woman in Kentucky who was shot and killed when police entered her home in March. Like many of you, I too am angry. I too am tired. I too am feeling aguish and pain while finding the words for this message."

Danielle Slota (Director, Office of the President)

Excerpt from her statement:
I’m sitting with my father and children watching Frozen II for what feels like the millionth time trying to find the words I want to share with you. This is my reality. The nation is quite literally burning in flames in a fight against racism and my white skin allows me to set aside those fires and simply be a mom for a few hours. This is my privilege. A privilege that our black colleagues and students don’t have because the fires that are burning externally for the rest of us are felt by them internally every moment of every day. "

Michael V. Pham (V.P. of Administrative Services)

Excerpt from his statement:
"The events of the last few days once again reminded me of how our grossly unequal society disparately treats people of color, especially black men, primarily due to the color of the skin. Racism is as alive and well in 2020 as it was more than 60 years ago during the struggles of the civil rights era.. . . .
For those of you who know me well, I am not very eloquent with words. However, I do speak as I see it. I do see that we have often tried to avoid speaking about race out of fear for offending another colleague. Perhaps, we all can take one small step toward racial healing by beginning to have more conversations about race and racial inequity. And the time to start those conversations is now!"

Josh Gerstman (V.P. for Institutional Advancement)

Excerpt from his statement:
"George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. In my faith, we have a tradition of reading the names of individuals who have recently died and to repeat their names on the anniversary of their death. We have a tradition of remembering our ancestors and our loved ones to remember that their lives have meaning. We also have a saying that can be translated as ‘to save a life is to save a generation and to destroy a life is to lose a generation.’ What have we lost with George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others on this list of black community members whose lives have unjustly taken? By losing these individuals we have lost generations of untold potential."

Tim Wrye (Exec. Director of Information Technology Services)

Excerpt from his statement:
"Like many of you, this week I have struggled to put words to my thoughts and feelings about this most recent string of murders of Black people in our country, even in my own city of Tacoma. I am angry, tired, frustrated. I am scared; not for myself, but for my Black colleagues, friends, neighbors, and our students who are in the line of fire. I am acutely aware of my privilege and positionality. I am also acutely aware that I do not use that privilege as effectively as I could in supporting and defending my colleagues and friends While I am always trying to learn (and unlearn), I am often not effective at putting what I learn into practice, or words (which I know any of you who have read my technology-related emails will find ironic). I am committing to do better in my daily words and actions; to listen to, amplify, lift up and defend the communities of color, and particularly the Black community, at Highline and elsewhere."

Emily Lardner (Interim V.P. of Academic Affairs)

Excerpt from her statement:
"The image of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, staring into a camera as Mr. Floyd says he can’t breathe, haunts me. I admire the courage of the young black woman who took that video in spite of the way Chauvin stared at her even as he pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck, and his colleagues, other white police officers, stood by. A line from “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey in the Rock plays in my head: “we who
believe in freedom cannot rest…” and I remember the rest of the words: “until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, is as important as the killing as white men, white women’s sons.” I talk with a friend. I cry. As a white mother, I worry about my white son but I haven’t had to talk with him about trying not to get killed by police. She did."

Summer Korst (Exec. Director of Human Resources)

Excerpt from her statement:
"This is an unprecedented time for our community. The events of the last month, coupled with the stressors of the coronavirus pandemic, have surrounded us with deep sadness and concern. While I empathize with the anger, grief, and fear of our black community, I realize my race and privilege prevents me from having a true understanding of what this community is feeling. What I can offer the community is acknowledgment of the recurring trauma and suffering caused by incidents of white violence on Black families. We should all be aware of the toll that repeated grief
takes on this community. This is especially important to recognize and attend to when COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting people of color."

Tiffin Filion (Student)

Excerpt from her statement:
Seeing how others who may not look like me are treated, breaks my heart. We all live on the same planet, breathe the same air, walk on the same soil. Why can’t we treat everyone the same? As I learned in elementary school: treat others as you would want to be treated. I don’t want to live my life in fear, I don’t want to be bullied or feel left out. So I do everything in my power to treat everyone with respect, regardless of their differences from me.

Associated Students of Highline College (ASHC)

Excerpt from the statement:
The Associated Students of Highline College Student Government (ASHC) recognizes the events that have transpired these past few days, and we stand in support for those who want justice for George Floyd. His murder by the Minnesota police was a tragic event that has highlighted police brutality. Demanding better police accountability in our country. The murder of George Floyd is connected to a larger oppressive system that constantly harms Black and Brown communities. It is deeply distressing and hard to process. Amongst all of this our community has been struggling through COVID-19. The pandemic has also shed light on the structural racism in our country through the high numbers of Black and Brown lives being taken. This is something that cannot be ignored any longer. 

Highline College English Dept.

English Department Statement of Commitment to Anti-Racist Practices

July 15, 2020

We, the English Department of Highline College, affirm our commitment to our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students and to anti-racist curriculum and pedagogy. We acknowledge that our discipline has a history of complicity with anti-Black and other racist practices that, among other things, have condemned BIPOC students at disproportionate rates to “remedial” education and have enforced a white supremacist language ideology. We acknowledge our ongoing challenges with addressing the racist implications of our curriculum and pedagogy while recognizing the decades of resistance by scholars, writers, and students as evidenced, for example, by the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s statement on “Students’ Right to their Own Language,” first made in 1974. We here affirm our commitment to centering our BIPOC students and supporting students of color in all of their intersectional identities.

Stephanie Ojeda-Ponce (English Faculty)

I recorded this video for the students in my classes on June 1st, but most of it is general. I did not have a lot of words of my own, so I chose to read the poem “To the Man with the Choke-hold” by U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.