We, as EvCC’s administrative leadership team, have come together to speak as one about our shared commitment to building what Dr. Martin Luther King called “the beloved community,” a community where all – regardless of our differences – are welcome, supported and loved for their authentic selves. We believe that only through the hard work of creating that community can we truly be of service to our students.
However, as Dr. King reminded us, we cannot create a beloved community without an equally strong commitment to antiracism. Indeed, honestly and bravely confronting racism is the precondition for the beloved community.
We recognize that it is an ongoing process to eliminate racism in our community. We know that many members of the EvCC community have done much work over the years on this issue, and we share the frustration that more has yet to be
Yet because and in spite of our frustration, we as a Leadership Team affirm ourselves as anti-racist and commit to taking on both racism and white privilege within Everett Community College. We center the words of Dr. Ibram Kendi, who notes that “being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”
Like so many institutions, Everett Community College is steeped in a culture based on racist assumptions that, intentionally or not, promote, strengthen, and perpetuate white supremacy and racial injustices. This cuts into every corner of life in the college – including governance structure, student, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, curriculum, pedagogy and those crucial out of classroom experiences that make up our campus climate.
We believe we must do more than simply acknowledge the historical legacy of exclusion and marginalization in higher education and affirm our responsibility to continuously learn about and disrupt systems of privilege, inequality, and oppression.
We must actively create a culture of restorative justice that acknowledges the harm done, and works to repair that harm, prevent its recurrence, and move us forward in a way that centers and honors voices and experiences that have historically been marginalized. An important part of this work focuses on building the structures of accountability and transparency through which we can collectively assess how we are doing and how far we still have to go.
As we move forward, we envision our work as embodying a collective, non-hierarchical process that asks the larger EvCC community to join us in taking on the daily challenge of both identifying racism at our college and taking clear action to create an anti-racist environment that supports all of us.
In the days and weeks to come we will be scheduling a series of gatherings to name the serious issues facing our community. We look forward to sustained, collective conversations with all of you about how we can together move toward a beloved community.
We know these conversations will not be without conflict and tension. Yet we believe that if we avoid those conflicts in the name of a false unity, we as leaders, will have failed each of you.
We believe antiracism is the first step towards realizing the ambitious goals articulated in the 5 Dimensions of Equity. We invite all of you to join with us as we aspire to enact the 5 Dimensions across the multiple ways we engage with our students, our communities and each other.
As Dr. King said, “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”