Black Lives Matter Statements from Mendocino College

Executive Leadership Statement
Commitment to Greater Equity and Anti-Racism

In a year that has sharply focused our attention on injustice beginning in May 2020 with the killing of Mr. George Floyd, and the further deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice. The events of the past year remind us of the perseverance of racism. Perhaps, for some of us, it could be easy to feel distant from the rest of the country’s strife in our relatively peaceful rural counties. However, our own local social fabric is woven by its own historical and structural racism. The Executive Team at Mendocino College supports the Academic Senate and their resolution on Black Lives Matter and practicing anti-racism, and we are adding our own voices in solidarity. 

On June 3, 2020, California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley delivered a “Call to Action”, to address structural racism and ensure that college communities and students have access to an equal opportunity. The California community colleges represent and serve one of the most diverse populations in the world in terms of race, ethnicity, language, culture, national origin, socio- economic class, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs.  

This reality should strengthen our resolve to stay engaged in equity work in our district and to work harder against racism (overt and structural) and toward social justice.  We can make a difference by infusing equity, anti-racism, empathy, and care into our curriculum, our services and each of our interactions with students. 

As practitioners and policymakers we will utilize social justice perspectives in making decisions to improve the success of minoritized groups. A social justice perspective is defined as being conscious of how institutional racism shapes educational access, educational trauma, opportunity, lack of culturally relevant practices, and success in the U.S. for people of color, justice-impacted families, and other minoritized groups. 

We know that this has been an extremely challenging time for our community, and we know more challenges will confront us in the days ahead. Many of us are still facing the effects of wildfires or disease on top of the pressures of longstanding systemic injustice. 

Yet in times of crisis, we can be made stronger by our human connections. Please take a moment to check in with your co-workers, colleagues, friends, and family. An encouraging word and a moment of focused listening can be an important source of support for those close to us. 

In Service, 

Superintendent/President Karas; Vice-President Administrative Services Cichocki; Vice-President Student Services Velasco; Vice-President Academic Affairs Polak 

Academic Senate
The following report was submitted by Academic Senate President Catherine Indermill: 

This month I will highlight the 58 faculty members who have stood up to acknowledge and support the importance of black citizens by sponsoring the Mendocino College Academic Senate  Resolution F’20 - 02 Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and Commitment to Greater Equity and Anti-Racism. In addition, thank those that contributed to this report (Vice President Buccelli, Senators Cannon and Finnegan, and Assistant Professor Poturia). 

As we are all more than aware, there have been many tragic and preventable deaths of black citizens in the United States in recent years. The faculty acknowledge the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and too many others, as well as the thousands of men, women and children who have been victims of racial intimidation and violence; and those murdered, such as Emmett Till.  We understand these events are evidence of broader societal structures built on a foundation of white supremacy that have existed since 1619 and now include subtle insidious forms of racial injustice and systemic racism that play out in the daily lives of our students of color.  As community college educators, it is one of our responsibilities to address historical inequities and eliminate the practices of systematic racism that exist in our colleges and societies. We call for all campus community members (students, staff, faculty, administrators, and the Board of Trustees) to engage in ongoing reflective conversations that explore the concepts of: equal justice under the law, racial justice, systemic racism, social injustice, as well as personal and institutional biases in a joint commitment to move toward an anti-racist campus and society. 

The Academic Senate has passed Resolution F’20 - 02 Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and Commitment to Greater Equity and Anti-Racism. This publicly and formally demonstrates our commitment to the MLCCD’s Values to include the creativity, innovation, and insight that emerge from multiple perspectives and we recognize the importance of equity and diversity in achieving our goals. In addition to the two required sponsors of a resolution, 56 faculty members who signed in support. This demonstrates the importance of this resolution that Mendocino College faculty, full- and part-time, stand in solidarity with the Black community.  On behalf of the faculty, our students and our Black brothers and sisters, the Academic Senate requests the MLCCD Board of Trustees adopt a similar resolution.  

Mendocino College Classified Senate
Statement of Action and Support of Equity in Education 

The Mendocino College Classified Senate prides itself with the work Mendocino-Lake Community College District has done to provide a safe and inviting environment for our students, staff, and community. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has brought to national attention the imperative to address systemic racism at the national, State, and local levels. Within our districts service area, which includes Mendocino and Lake Counties, we acknowledge that structural and social racism exists in our communities. There has been violence and injustice directed toward people of color in our region, and countless acts of microaggression and systemic racism in established agencies. We must recognize our historical prejudiced practices and build upon current anti-racist actions as we continue to support our students and colleagues, particularly those who are people of color. We are committed to continued learning and collaboration with our peers across the California Community College system, its students, colleagues, and leaders as we answer the call to action. 

The Classified Senate of Mendocino-Lake Community College District acknowledges that the land our district occupies and benefits from is that of the Pomo people. Our Pomo Plaza was dedicated in honor of the Pomo people’s rich cultural history, and acknowledging their original stewardship. Our Native American Outreach, including the Pomo Pathway program, have been acknowledged by ACCJC for addressing the needs of our Pomo people as our district has the 2nd largest Native American population enrolled in a community college in California. 

We are known as a long-standing Hispanic Serving Institution. We were the first classified group in the California Community College system invited to participate with the Center for Urban Education equity scorecard process as Mendocino College. This work led to equitable reforms and insight in key areas of our campus in which classified staff are the conduits for students beginning their educational experience. 

The Mendocino College Classified Senate is also one of the first in the State to embrace the Caring Campus Initiative created by the Institute for Evidence Based Change. Our MendoCares program will be entering its inaugural stage in Spring 2021, addressing student needs, including equity, campus climate, and access to services. 

In collaboration with college faculty, administration, and community organizations, we will continue to work to overcome systemic racism, cultural biases, and inequitable practices both within our institution and within our surrounding communities. 

In solidarity, Mendocino College Classified Senate officers 2020-2021 

Mayra Sanchez (President), Lauren Simmonds (Vice President), Isabel Lopez (Senator), Naoto Horiguchi (Senator), Tony Novelli (Senator and Past President), Nancy Heth (Secretary), Karen Cavanaugh (Treasurer), Jeana Thompson (Past-President) 

Management/Supervisory/Confidential: 

The following report was submitted by Management Team President Janelle Bird: 

In response to several recent events that remind us of the perseverance of racism in our society and in support of the call to action from the State Chancellor’s Office, the Management Team has developed and supports the following statement:   

In support of Black Lives Matter and the Call to Action from the California Chancellor’s Office and in acknowledgment of systemic racism (overt and structural) the Management Team of Mendocino College recognizes our responsibility to respond to and evolve District culture and practices.   

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice have tragically emphasized the deep racial inequities in our society.   

The California community colleges represent and serve one of the most diverse populations in the world in terms of race, ethnicity, language, culture, national origin, socio-economic class, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs.   

As professionals in higher education, we are conscious of how institutional racism shapes educational access, educational trauma, opportunity, lack of culturally relevant practices, and success in the U.S. for people of color, justice-impacted families, and other minoritized groups.  

We stand firm in our dedication to implementing changes and responding to the needs of our students, staff, faculty, and community. Through dialogue, professional development, anti-racist practices, empathy, and acknowledgment of systemic and structural racism, we resolve to change the narrative and strengthen Mendocino College and the communities we serve to stay engaged in equity work toward social justice.