June 4, 2020
At Oregon Coast Community College, we hold equity and inclusion as our collective north star. No student is expendable. The death of George Floyd and so many before him has elicited grief and outrage in every corner of the nation, including here in Lincoln County. The well-being of our community requires that we acknowledge the pain, fear, and disillusionment that exist for many of our students, employees, and community members.
At Oregon Coast, we strive to address the inequities and barriers that prevent people from learning and working to their full potential. Racism and xenophobia are amongst the most formidable of those barriers. Given the history of this particular oppression we believe it is important to state unequivocally, Black lives matter. As a college we expose students to opinions and viewpoints different from your own. We strive to teach how to consider ideas in an objective and compassionate manner—to think critically about information you hear, read, and watch. Our students are the dreamers, the innovators, and the leaders—those who will shape our college, our community, and our nation in the years to follow.
We know that were it not for the pandemic and online-only delivery of courses, students, faculty, and staff would be gathering together to reflect upon the events of the past weeks, and share their thoughts, vent their frustrations, and comfort one another.
The College is committed to applying an Equity lens to its policies and practices for planning and decision-making to heal and transform our structures, our environments, and ourselves. The College also embraces its role in creating space for discussion and productive action to address racial injustice and societal barriers to equity. Your voices will be essential as we move this work forward.
In the coming weeks and months we will ask you to contribute to this work – and it is work. We must individually have the courage to be honest about what we are feeling and experiencing. We need to be honest about our role in racist and discriminating behaviors, practices, procedures and policies. We need to be honest about privilege. We need to learn about the injustices that many communities experience and identify where it is coming from and why. We need to acknowledge that marginalized communities are exhausted from fighting for justice. We can’t expect overnight solutions to 500 year-old problems. But we can continue to have discussions, not debates, about how we got here.
If these recent events are troubling to you, know you’re not alone. Please reach out to our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The future is what we make it. We hope that you join us.
Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge, the OCCC Executive Team, and the OCCC Equity and Inclusion Committee