Messages from SMC President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery
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APIDAA for Black Lives: A Statement of Support - July 7, 2020
APIDAA for Black Lives: A Statement of Support
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist” -
Dear Santa Monica College friends and family,
The Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Alliance (APIDAA) at Santa Monica College (SMC) stands in solidarity with the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement. Our past, present, and future is intertwined with the resistance and movements of the Black community, and we condemn the harassment, assault, and killing of our Black brothers and sisters. We demand justice, accountability, and action. Black lives can no longer be devalued and dehumanized. Enough is enough.
We recognize that police killing of Black lives is only one part of the systemic racism that plagues our country. These actions reflect the structural racism that is deeply embedded in all our systems. In standing with the Black community, we are also engaging in the mission of SMC to “provide a safe, inclusive, and dynamic learning environment that encourages personal and intellectual exploration.” As classified professionals, faculty, and managers, we acknowledge and embrace our distinct responsibility to confront white supremacy and remove the racist practices, policies, and curriculum that reinforce racial inequities at our own institution.
Our paths as marginalized communities in America makes us kindred spirits with our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. At times, our communities have suffered from similar institutionalized racism and violence from the Rock Springs Massacre in 1886 to the Watsonville Race Riots of 1920, to the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. This shared experience of white supremacist oppression helped forge racial alliances during the 1960s when organizations like the Third World Liberation Front brought our communities together to fight for justice. However, it is also equally true that we have not always traveled the same paths. White supremacist systems have pitted our communities against each other in the decades since by holding APIDAA communities up as model minorities. And while APIDAA communities have continued to fight against this racialized othering and other forms of institutional racism, it is also true that our communities have benefited from this injurious racialization. At times, some in our communities have even worn this designation as a badge of honor. However, APIDAA communities must recognize that this is how white supremacy operates. Divide and conquer by giving qualified limited access to some groups, pitting us against each other, and ultimately keeping white supremacy intact. We will not be duped into taking part in a system that aims to divide us from our Black and Brown brothers and sisters.
Silence is complicity. If we do not do our part to address and dismantle racist systems, we are contributing to it. We also recognize solidarity is not enough and that building a racial justice coalition is difficult work. We stand ready for that challenge.
We are dedicated to counter oppression, racism, violence, and hate. In doing so, we pledge the following:
- We will do the work needed within our communities, including having the difficult conversations with family, friends, and colleagues, learning about the long history of anti-Blackness within the APIDAA community and unlearning these prejudices, and engaging in anti-racist/Black education.*
- We will implement policies and practices that address the specific needs our Black and African American students and colleagues to achieve racial equity and dismantle systems and policies that uphold white supremacy.
- We will disrupt and remove racial prejudice and discrimination, from exclusion and bullying to silencing and microaggressions, in all physical and virtual spaces in which the SMC community congregates and interacts.
- We will continue to grow and strengthen our allyship with the Black community by listening to their expertise and leadership.
We stand committed to supporting our students, staff, faculty, administrators, and
community members beyond the current moment. We will work toward a community of change
and will not rest until lasting change is implemented.
In solidarity and power,
The Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Alliance (APIDAA) at Santa Monica College
The following members of APIDAA have signed this statement and are committed to supporting Black Lives Matter and doing our part to dismantling systemic racism:
Brandon J. Reilly
Diana Lui Fujita
Marissa Osato Moreno
Michael V. Tuitasi
*We invite everyone to learn with us.
- The Movement for Black Lives
- Black Futures Lab
- “Asian Americans Supporting the Black Community – An Explainer and Resources”
- “Being Antiracist”
- Non-Black People of Color Are Mobilizing to End Complicity in Black Death
Love Letter to Black and Brown Students of SMC
From the Latinx Collective, a collective faculty and staff at SMC
We want to take this time to let you know that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and the fight for racial justice. Your struggle is our struggle… Tu lucha es nuestra lucha. We demand an end to police brutality, white supremacy, and all forms of institutional violence and oppression that aim to strip Black people of their humanity. We acknowledge the herculean task it is for our Black students and colleagues to show up for school and work, and to pretend that life is fine while their people are being brutalized, arrested, and killed.
The last four years since the election have represented a “turning back” on all of the promises and protections that the civil rights movement represented for Black people, and other marginalized communities. We were heartbroken because we went from the first African American president to one that seemingly welcomed endorsement by white supremacist groups. We knew that DACA and other programs that symbolized progress in our communities would be threatened or eliminated. And now we are living through the regrettable consequences that followed that shift. As James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” In these uncertain times, we intend to face injustice with you.
In addition, we want you to know that we are deeply invested in your academic success! We will continue to advocate student racial equity on campus, so that the college’s mission to serve all students does not leave Black and Brown students behind. Our commitment to you as educators and mentors is to center your collective experiences, histories, and aspirations in the work that we do. Like many other SMC faculty, we will continue to try our best to promote equity while moving our classes online, and when we return to campus.
We acknowledge that this semester has been difficult for you and we want you to know that we understand, we support you, and are so proud of your efforts! Students, especially community college students encounter challenges and may have to step into leadership roles in their families due to necessity and hardship. You have had to make decisions about whether to complete online coursework and assignments, or take extra hours at work, and many have struggled to maintain a balance between work and school. We understand the frustration you feel when professors demand that you show up for online lectures without understanding the difficult hurdles that you must overcome at home. A lot of you have done this with little financial support from the federal government, if any at all. It is understandable that keeping up with courses at SMC might be the last thing on your mind, and what you have accomplished thus far is amazing!
We take this opportunity to motivate you to find the strength and courage to become a positive change agent in your home, at SMC, in your community and our nation. All leadership positions have the potential to generate change, dialogue and understanding. For many of you, this year may be the first time you are able to participate in local, state and national elections. Your participation, your education, your actions, your contributions, your experiences matter- PEACE matters.
In closing, we want to express our deepest empathy to you, and state that we are so proud of you! We are proud of you for sticking to your dreams, and striving to reach your goals, and for pushing through this difficult semester, even when you just couldn't deal with one more piece of bad news. While not everyone understands you, we are here to say that some of us do. While we cannot know exactly what you are going through right now, we relate because many of us were once in similar positions and have lived through similar experiences. We sincerely love you and know that we are in this together. We see ourselves in you and are rooting for you to succeed in any and all of your educational and personal goals. Future generations need you… our children need you to be their leaders of tomorrow.
Lydia Ayala-Project Manager
Aaron De La Torre-Staff
Patricia Del Valle-Faculty
Sandra Franco - Staff
Jose G. Hernandez-Manager
Maria Leon-Vazquez-Project Manager
Nicholas Mata-Associate Dean
Ana Montes de Vegas-Faculty
Sara Nieves-Lucas -Faculty
Jennifer Reza - Staff
Isaac Rodriguez-Lupercio-Associate Dean
Larry Silva-Track & Field Head Coach
**This may not represent a comprehensive list of names due to time constraints and the urgency to send this message.