Dear Campus Community:
This morning, I prepared a message to campus about the traumas our country has recently been facing. I wanted to convey that our country and our campus must do better. How we must be better.
As I was getting ready to send the message, Interim Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Lorraine Acker reached out to me to regarding the message that she wished to send to campus. Upon reading her powerful words, I knew that her message was the message we needed to hear today.
Please read Dr. Acker’s message below. Reflect on it. And consider taking the actions she suggests for each of us.
Dear Brockport Community:
As your Interim Chief Diversity Officer, my heart is heavy! I woke up on Sunday morning with a heaviness in my heart and tears flowing from my eyes because like many of you, I have been in an emotional space mourning the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and most recently George Floyd. They join a long list of Black Americans whose lives were cut short. As a Black mother, even in quarantine, I carry a deep burden of fear that my son might become the next Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, or Tamir Rice.
These senseless killings are a deafening reminder of the pervasive anti-Black racism throughout our country. I recognize the trauma and deep pain that many of our students, faculty, and staff are experiencing in the wake of these most recent tragic acts of violence. As the prolific James Baldwin once said, “to be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” I want you to know that you are not alone.
This cycle of violence perpetrated by systemic racism leaves a permanent stain on America and within the Black community. I remain resolved in my commitment to you, as members of the Brockport community, to work towards creating the structural changes needed to provide an inclusive and equitable campus community to all members. And as a college community, we have the opportunity to identify even more opportunities to help members of our community work to eliminate this pervasive racism and prepare leaders to lead in these and future times.
To these ends, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will continue working in partnership with students, faculty, staff, the President and members of her cabinet to move Brockport beyond equity, diversity, and inclusion into an anti-racist campus.
As we begin to search for answers in the coming days, weeks, and months my hope is that you will:
Practice self-care: protect your mind, reach out and connect with loved one(s), and
seek out mental health services that are available to you. Counseling Services will
be offering virtual “space” for students to “drop in” and talk about the ongoing events
happening around the country. Please check your email for information on how to participate.
Find multiple ways you can engage on the local, state, and national level, including registering to vote.
Strengthen your partnership with other organizations as the work ahead requires a collective approach across and within racial, ethnic, and gender communities.
Lastly, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is also here to provide support during these difficult times. We will be holding virtual office hours on Thursday, June 4, at 3 pm to check in with students and share campus EDI improvement plans.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585) 395-2024.
Lorraine D. Acker, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs