EDI Hosts Discussion on Racial Tension and Police Brutality
On Monday, May 25, Minneapolis man George Floyd was killed during an altercation with police that ended with officer Dave Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground by the neck. The pressure of Chauvin’s weight on Floyd’s neck caused Floyd to asphyxiate and ultimately die. Now, protests are being held nationwide demanding policy change to better keep police accountable for the violence they commit.
On Monday afternoon, July 1, the Department of Institutional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion hosted a Zoom discussion open to all LBCC staff members, faculty, and students who wished to speak out about these current national events.
A maximum of 37 individuals joined the meeting at one time, and once the meeting started, Department Director Javier Cervantes began his role as moderator with a question:
“How are people feeling?”
“Seven years ago in my community, a young man was shot and killed in the back by police,” said Kristen Jennings of LBCC’s College Skills Zone. “COVID isn’t just in the background, it’s pushing this even further. I’m ashamed I haven’t been to any protests.”
The consensus during the discussion was that the protests and outrage are warranted, but many feared for the health of those protesting in large groups.
“I think this is all very scary,” said student Katie Bieker, “There are so many people congregating in one place, it’s almost like we’ve forgotten about COVID.”
At this point in time there have been protests in all 50 states against the killing of George Floyd. Portland has seen the largest protest turnout in Oregon, ranging in the thousands, and a smaller organization of students and community members demonstrated in Corvallis on May 31. Another protest was held in Albany on Tuesday, resulting in a peaceful turn-out upwards of 1000.
“We have faith in our system to self-correct,” said English faculty Tristan Striker during the EDI Zoom discussion. “What’s hard to confront is that maybe our system is not equipped to correct itself. There might be systems in place that perpetuate dysfunction.”
When asked about the goal of Monday’s event, EDI Admin Support Heather Morijah emphasized the importance of discussion during such a troubling time. “I think it’s about leading by example,” said Morijah, “And thinking globally/acting locally. Best put, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ It’s not enough to talk about it: we have to think it, believe it and feel it at a core level. What’s on one’s lips is not necessarily what’s in one’s heart.”