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A Message on the Protests Resulting from the Killing of George Floyd

Posted May 31, 2020

Dear MSJC Students, Colleagues and Community Members:

I have been watching with deep sorrow and anguish since news outlets aired the video of the senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.  Each day, outrage grows and protests understandably spread out across the country. As the Superintendent/President of Mt. San Jacinto College, I am committed to standing in solidarity with those within our communities, and our country, that are rightly angry and appalled at the lack of progress against racism and the continued injustice for our African American brothers and sisters.

It is incumbent upon all of us to continuously reflect on our own biases and racial blind spots so we can work together to disrupt and dismantle racist systems and mindsets that permeate our community and our country.  The Mt. San Jacinto College Equity Pledge is a testament to our commitment to do exactly that. I am proud we were the first community college in California to implement such an anti-racist pledge, which seeks to ensure we have an inclusive learning environment that celebrates our diversity and aims to remove equity gaps so that all of our students, specifically those that have been historically marginalized, can succeed. The Pledge includes a list of discriminatory laws dating back to 1769 and a list of equity resources. I encourage you to read the Pledge again, share it with colleagues, friends and family, and participate in a discussion of how to put the Equity Pledge into action!

As proud as I am of our Equity Pledge and the work that we have begun to become an anti-racist institution of higher learning, I also recognize it is the action behind those words written in that powerful pledge that will demonstrate our true commitment to eradicating racism once and for all. It is beyond my comprehension how we have such advancement in science and engineering to launch the Space X, yet we still do not have a world without racism and violence and don't seem to have progressed much as a society in decades, if not centuries, on this critical aspect of civil rights and the sanctity of human life.

Please stand with me and the college community to not only support our African American communities, but to take the appropriate actions to put needed change in motion.  MSJC is taking an active role in facilitating opportunities for our students, employees, and communities to have a safe space to discuss our fears, our anger, as well as ways to effect change locally through a series of events scheduled over the next week. We will announce those events as soon as possible via email, social media and the MSJC online calendar. 

We may be entering a period of prolonged unrest as our nation comes to address the individual and systematic racism that still exists in our society. We must be agents of positive and true change. We simply cannot sit silent another moment. If we do, we will all be responsible for the tragedy of another death the likes of Mr. Floyd, Eric Garner, Admaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many other African Americans.

We will see more protests and I humbly ask that everyone proceed safely and legally so that we remain a model to others around us. Participating in violence or looting will not help us overcome racism. We can and should be outraged, but we must practice peace to effect social change. The methods employed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, the Suffragettes, and Mahatma Gandhi can act as our guides as we navigate this time of unrest.  

Please join me in the MSJC discussions and events that will soon be announced.

Let 2020 be the time we finally break the cycle of racism and be a part of true positive and lasting social change.

Roger W. Schultz, Ph.D.