The Councils that represent the American Association of the Community Colleges: National Asian Pacific Islander Council (NAPIC), National Council on Black American Affairs (NCBAA), and National Community Colleges Hispanic Council (NCCHC), stand in solidarity with Black communities across our nation. We support Black Lives Matter. We condemn the use of force by local, state and federal law enforcement against protesters and demand safety during protests. Black communities have disproportionately faced the impact of police violence, which also affects immigrants and other communities of color. We demand justice for Black lives! In light of the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, “…we cannot be silent…” (Senator Cory Booker, 6/2/2020). All of these people were simply living. They were shopping, jogging and sleeping. They should not be gone- yet, they are. What we all know is that our advocacy must continue. We must all work together and it cannot be lip-service. We cannot be in this space again and I know as well as many of my fellow educators- that we work to help everyone. We just know the reality is that the current system is disproportionately against Black success. This is the moment that we confront these truths and break them down.
As a coalition, we denounce the continued dehumanization and systemic violence of Black Americans. We will continue to speak out against injustice and inequities within our communities of color. Actions such as ending DACA and xenophobia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are further examples of racial hate and bias. And, we will work to address anti-Blackness among our communities of color, many of whom are here in our country due to the civil rights struggles led by Black Americans. For many African Americans, death at the hands of police happens too often. This year alone- almost 1000 African Americans have died at the hands of police during a pandemic. Last year, the number was about the same. The outrage our country is feeling is not without merit. We should be outraged. We should continue our work, but we now have to work differently. We have to work together.
As a coalition, we are committed to our shared values and leverage. By this, we advocate and call for tangible actions in our local, state, and federal governments and communities to address and eliminate systemic racism, such as:
- to defund police and to invest those funds in communities of color,
- to foster opportunities and donate funds directly to organizations that scaffold communities of color
- to pass new laws to protect Black American and communities of color from police brutality and violence and anti-racist actions,
- to fund black-led organizations who directly impact their communities
- to amplify our commitment as community college leaders to eliminate structural racism within our institutions by reviewing and changing policies and practices that are detrimental to communities of color and perpetuate systemic racial inequity and inequality.
Finally, we ask the American Association for Community Colleges organization, to which we are affiliated to generate a call of action to address and change the course of our country’s systemic racism as community colleges once and for all. We call on our AACC Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity to be charged into leading this effort.