April 20, 2021
Justice for George Floyd + Processing the Verdict
Dear SMC Community:
This afternoon, many in the U.S. and across the world awaited with great anxiety a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video last year on Memorial Day 2020, kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for over nine minutes while Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe”. Chauvin has been found guilty on all charges—of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Mr. Floyd. This verdict was, as the statement released by George Floyd’s family and attorney states, “. . . painfully earned justice. . . and has significant implications for the country and even the world. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America.”
At Santa Monica College, we have been acutely aware of the pain, fear, and frustration unleashed by such acts of blatant, hateful racism and the trauma this inflicts on those belonging to communities historically marginalized and oppressed. We echo the Floyd family’s sentiment, and hope that this is a turning point in the history of America, where not only law enforcement but every system that wields power is held accountable for how they treat people of color. May this be the beginning of justice for Black America, and for every community touched by systemic racism and hate.
SMC Virtual Spaces “Processing the Verdict” + Resources
I urge you to be safe in the coming days, and be mindful of your surroundings. I also understand that the verdict and the coverage around it can cause anxiety, and a reliving of trauma—both your own as well as those of others.
Several dedicated and caring SMC colleagues representing various departments and constituent groups have set up a virtual space—“Processing the Verdict: Reflection, Healing, and Coming Together for Racial Justice”—to help SMC employees and students support one another. Please visit the "Racial Justice Events, Center for Teaching Excellence” webpage to see the support spaces offered and find the ones that feel right for you. Four Zoom sessions will be offered tomorrow covering topics such as emotional processing, allyship, creative expression, and meditation/mindfulness.
Additional resources available to you year-round are below:
- Students: Emotional support hotline available 24/7 at 1-800-691-6003 or contact the SMC Center for Wellness & Wellbeing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 310-434-4503 to set up a virtual appointment.
- Employees: Contact EASE (a free, confidential counseling/consultation program) at 1-800-882-1341.
I envision a better, more just world and believe that the life-changing transformational work in which we engage at Santa Monica College is ever more crucial to that end.
Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D.