From the College-Wide Diversity Committee, Student Government Association, Students of Ethnic Diversity, Safe Place at Caz, and MOSAIC Center.

As Cazenovia endeavors to promote just and inclusive communities for all, we cannot neglect to acknowledge the continued acts of oppression and violence directed at Black and Brown people in America. These include – but are not limited to –  incidents like Amy Cooper weaponizing white privilege to oppress and demonize Christian Cooper, the shooting and killing of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of vigilantes while jogging, the killing of Breonna Taylor –  shot by police while in her home in Louisville, Kentucky – and George Floyd, dead after multiple police officers were involved, as one –  now charged with murder – pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

These blatant forms of racism, implicit bias, and racialized violence have a taxing effect on our students and colleagues from Black and Brown communities. Bearing witness to these events has a significant effect on how safe our colleagues and students feel in their communities, including our own campus community. For any community to achieve equity and inclusion, it must remain a priority to achieve an environment that is safe for all, and these recent acts serve to again reinforce a critical need for all of us to understand and acknowledge the effects of privilege and oppression on and off our campus.

Racialized violence in this country has deep roots, and eradicating this requires action on multiple levels: protesting, electoral engagement, accountability for those who commit violence, legislative and policy changes, and more. This work is not easy, requires on-going priority and attention, and must not rest only with Black and Brown people. Standing with our own colleagues and students, means White members of our community must join as allies in condemning racial violence and as committed partners in organizing and taking meaningful action. We must inherently understand and act with the recognition that all lives cannot matter until Black lives matter.

In support of our campus commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Cazenovia College’s Student Government Association, Students of Ethnic Diversity, Safe Place at Caz, MOSAIC Center and College-Wide Diversity Committee call on our campus community, each and every member, to consider and reconsider our work and our actions. We ask that our work moving forward first recognize the importance of anti-racism action and engagement in outcome-oriented solutions that have the promise of deliberately addressing the systems that serve to insulate so many of us from race-based stress.

In the weeks ahead, the Diversity Committee will be announcing a number of opportunities for our campus community to review the current College diversity and inclusion strategy document which has been built through suggestions from the series of community forums beginning in February 2019. It will become our focus to enhance and prioritize items for attention and action which we all believe will best mitigate, and most importantly dismantle systems which contribute to this race-based stress on campus. We invite, encourage, and implore complete community involvement in this review, so that even as we look forward to our on-campus return in the fall, we can commence a fall semester with a focus well-aligned to building a stronger, safer, and most inclusive Cazenovia.