Photo provided by Deanna Sheely
I am writing in the wake of the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, and the resulting unrest in Minneapolis. The video capturing the horrific moments prior to his death and those police officers’ utter lack of regard for his life has sent shockwaves of sadness and fear through our campus community.
While the video and the news reports are not able to show what happened leading up to the time Mr. Floyd was detained, it does make painfully clear how some law enforcement officers seem all too eager to use force unnecessarily on our neighbors, friends and family members of color. This tragedy shines a spotlight on a mere sliver of the racial disparities that are experienced across our community. Now under that spotlight, it is no longer invisible and commands action. This is our moment, as a community, to face the ugliness of such racial inequities and take a thoughtful and intentional approach to supporting change.
I applaud the prompt actions and statements to address the unacceptable brutality used by the officers involved in this incident. I stand in solidarity with the peaceful demonstrators seeking to focus the world’s attention on the trauma of systemic racism and condemn all acts of violence. With the world watching to see what happens next in our city, this is our time, Minneapolis, to boldly and firmly state violence perpetrated against one individual is violence perpetrated against us all and this is not acceptable.
For colleges, businesses, communities of faith and other vital elements of our community to thrive, we must be willing to make difficult decisions for the greater good. Together, we can reflect, heal and work in unison to reduce the racial divide experienced across our city and, in turn, across the state and the nation.
Since 1914, Minneapolis College has endured many challenges. Despite these challenges, we will continue providing high quality, affordable and transformational educational pathways to help elevate the socioeconomic status of our community, family, friends and neighbors. We remain devoted to our mission and to our belief that equity remedies personal and systemic disadvantages, removes barriers to inclusion and helps achieve just outcomes. Inclusion is created through a climate of belonging and meaningful participation. It results from equitable and culturally responsive policies and practices that generate trust and are foundational to our community’s wellbeing.
Through our students, staff and faculty, and as an anchor in the broader community, we are fully engaged and committed to eliminating disparities and to shaping the landscape of the region’s future. There is no destination point; this work is ongoing. We call upon all the citizens of Minneapolis to join us on our journey toward equity.
Sharon J. Pierce, Ed.D. President