Last week, when a grand jury decided against charging police officers for causing Breonna Taylor’s death, we were once again reminded of the collective and aggregated pain that dwells in our community. We all wish for swift and just decisions in all the cases making their way through the justice system, like those of Shataean Kelly, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Elijah McClain and others. We believe all black lives matter – including the shortened life of Breonna Taylor’s. Last week’s media reports serve as a measure of the distance between where we are and where we strive to be.
In a letter to the Colorado Community College System community, Chancellor Joe Garcia recently wrote about the “conflicting and discouraging comments coming out of Washington and elsewhere challenging the value of our equity work, or mischaracterizing that work as being “anti-white” or otherwise divisive.” Chancellor Garcia went on to say, “We will continue to focus on creating equitable educational opportunities for all of our state’s residents, and we will continue to focus our efforts on increasing awareness about equity gaps and historical policies that have created or supported structures and systems that create or sustain racially disparate outcomes.”
Like our Chancellor, Community College of Denver’s executive leadership team stands with our community against any acts of ethnic or racial supremacy, abuse of power, systemic inequity, and any acts that would denigrate or marginalize any individual. We will actively train, educate, and operate from a lens that addresses bias and incorporates equity in decision making. Our values are clear and unwavering. We believe in access, excellence, integrity, and success – with equity – for all students, faculty and staff.
Community College of Denver is representative of the diversity of our nation, and so our college is a microcosm of the country. The Inclusive Excellence Leadership Team (IELT) encourages you to participate in self-care. They want to remind students who self-identify as Black about our Black Healing Circles led by YouthSeen every Friday afternoon from 2 – 4:00 p.m. We also hope you will reach out to one another to strengthen the connections we each feel with others in our Community College of Denver community.
We acknowledge the strength and courage it takes to continue the work for greater equity and inclusion. We are heartened by the strength and commitment of our Community College of Denver community. You are not alone.
Everette J. Freeman, Ed.D.
Kathy Kaoudis, J.D.
Chief Financial Officer and
Vice President of Administrative Services
Ruthanne K. Orihuela, M.A.
Provost and Vice President for
Gillian McKnight-Tutein, Ed.D.
Vice President of Enrollment
Administration and Student Success