Love Letter to Black and Brown Students of SMC
From the Latinx Collective, a collective faculty and staff at SMC
We want to take this time to let you know that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and the fight for racial justice. Your struggle is our struggle… Tu lucha es nuestra lucha. We demand an end to police brutality, white supremacy, and all forms of institutional violence and oppression that aim to strip Black people of their humanity. We acknowledge the herculean task it is for our Black students and colleagues to show up for school and work, and to pretend that life is fine while their people are being brutalized, arrested, and killed.
The last four years since the election have represented a “turning back” on all of the promises and protections that the civil rights movement represented for Black people, and other marginalized communities. We were heartbroken because we went from the first African American president to one that seemingly welcomed endorsement by white supremacist groups. We knew that DACA and other programs that symbolized progress in our communities would be threatened or eliminated. And now we are living through the regrettable consequences that followed that shift. As James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” In these uncertain times, we intend to face injustice with you.
In addition, we want you to know that we are deeply invested in your academic success! We will continue to advocate student racial equity on campus, so that the college’s mission to serve all students does not leave Black and Brown students behind. Our commitment to you as educators and mentors is to center your collective experiences, histories, and aspirations in the work that we do. Like many other SMC faculty, we will continue to try our best to promote equity while moving our classes online, and when we return to campus.
We acknowledge that this semester has been difficult for you and we want you to know that we understand, we support you, and are so proud of your efforts! Students, especially community college students encounter challenges and may have to step into leadership roles in their families due to necessity and hardship. You have had to make decisions about whether to complete online coursework and assignments, or take extra hours at work, and many have struggled to maintain a balance between work and school. We understand the frustration you feel when professors demand that you show up for online lectures without understanding the difficult hurdles that you must overcome at home. A lot of you have done this with little financial support from the federal government, if any at all. It is understandable that keeping up with courses at SMC might be the last thing on your mind, and what you have accomplished thus far is amazing!
We take this opportunity to motivate you to find the strength and courage to become a positive change agent in your home, at SMC, in your community and our nation. All leadership positions have the potential to generate change, dialogue and understanding. For many of you, this year may be the first time you are able to participate in local, state and national elections. Your participation, your education, your actions, your contributions, your experiences matter- PEACE matters.
In closing, we want to express our deepest empathy to you, and state that we are so proud of you! We are proud of you for sticking to your dreams, and striving to reach your goals, and for pushing through this difficult semester, even when you just couldn't deal with one more piece of bad news. While not everyone understands you, we are here to say that some of us do. While we cannot know exactly what you are going through right now, we relate because many of us were once in similar positions and have lived through similar experiences. We sincerely love you and know that we are in this together. We see ourselves in you and are rooting for you to succeed in any and all of your educational and personal goals. Future generations need you… our children need you to be their leaders of tomorrow.
Lydia Ayala-Project Manager
Aaron De La Torre-Staff
Patricia Del Valle-Faculty
Sandra Franco - Staff
Jose G. Hernandez-Manager
Maria Leon-Vazquez-Project Manager
Nicholas Mata-Associate Dean
Ana Montes de Vegas-Faculty
Sara Nieves-Lucas -Faculty
Jennifer Reza - Staff
Isaac Rodriguez-Lupercio-Associate Dean
Larry Silva-Track & Field Head Coach
**This may not represent a comprehensive list of names due to time constraints and the urgency to send this message.