It is a long time coming. Why has it taken so long? As a white person, what can I do? Comments and questions from our students, employees, and community, as well as our institutional commitment to racial equity have motivated us to create this guide.
The dignity of Black lives and the history that has led us to this moment cannot be lost in politics. These resources help contextualize this moment in time so we can move toward greater awareness, shared understanding, and collective engagement in meaningful action to confront racism.
- Vivi Caleffi Prichard, Chief Diversity Officer, Chemeketa Community College
Once Black people were regarded and considered “property,” we fought for our humanity and we won. Once Black people were isolated, unable to participate freely in society, attend integrated schools, regulated to the back of the bus, and unable to visit libraries, we fought for our access and we won. Once Black people were denied basic human rights and did not have the right to vote, we fought for our rights and we won. The struggle for equal and fair treatment within the United States of America for Black people has never been easy, though we continue to face each challenge.
Society would prefer if Black people were seen as anything but equal or human. The weaponization of skin leading to senseless murders of Black people at the hands of police is not a recent occurrence. However, what is new is that the COVID-19 pandemic forced the nation to slow down, and in that slowing take notice of the treatment of Black people. COVID-19 removed all the distractions and barriers, then forced the nation to pay attention to the continuous systemic unwarranted degradation and the heartless murders of Black people at the hands of those sworn to protect. Individuals, wrapped in privilege and armed with the knowledge of police brutality against Black people maliciously call 911 to further place targets on Black peoples' lives, all while the nation watched. This is the harsh reality that Black people have faced for generations. The only difference between then and now is that the treatment and revolutions are televised, livestreamed, and posted on social media. The United States can no longer bury its head in the sand and pretend that there is not a systemic problem. It is time to wake up, stand up, and take action to end police brutality because Black Lives Matter.
People must understand that equity, diversity and inclusion are action words. The time has passed to remain silent and complicit as Black people are murdered. I encourage allies to educate themselves, engage in meaningful conversations and take action in dismantling systemic and institutional racism. Together we can fight for freedom and we can win!
-Shamika Simpson, Long Beach Community College Librarian
Used with permission
Visit Shamika's full guide Understanding Black Lives Matter
Chemeketa Community College Library | library.chemeketa.edu | 503.399.5231 | E-mail Reference Librarians