In light of the murder of George Floyd and sentiments of anti-blackness in our society and institutions, a professional network of Black women faculty and administrators has been organized to support, mentor, and empower community college women. Unfortunately, colleges have been slow and ill-equipped to respond to the needs of their Black employees and students. Recognizing the gravity of this problem, a group of Black women coordinated virtual community healing forums during summer 2020 for Black students and employees to be affirmed and heard.
The spring semester should have been filled with the anticipation of students returning to campus. Instead, the college community discovered that its president, the second Black woman to hold that esteemed position, had been the target of vicious racial assaults. The aggressive and vulgar nature of the threats triggered myriad feelings and thoughts among the Brown and Black faculty, classified professionals, administrators, and Black students.
When a Black person walks into a room, the Black person scans the room easily to find a fellow Black person. As a Black part-time faculty member working in Southern California community colleges for fifteen years, I have experienced this over and over.
At the Fall 2020 Plenary, the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges (ASCCC) renewed the call to adopt Resolution 3.02 F19 Support Infusing Antiracism/No Hate Education in Community Colleges.  To this end, the ASCCC Equity and Diversity Action Committee strongly suggests that every campus distribute this pledge and every faculty member take the pledge:
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
(Frederick Douglass in a letter to an abolitionist associate, 1848)
It is often a point of frustration and sometimes confusion when faculty move to the chief instructional officer (CIO) ranks and hear sentiments such as, “Ooh—you’re working with the dark side now.” Are we really intending to be in opposition to each other as faculty and CIOs? Why vilify each other instead of work in unison? Teamwork and unification is imperative, especially as we grapple with a post-pandemic era and with the racial reckoning and movement toward equity and liberation.
As librarians, we have experienced countless interactions in which another student reports another student’s behavior as being distracting, disruptive, erratic, or even violent; however, this is rarely the case. More often than not, these perceived strange behaviors instead stem from symptoms that fall under the spectrum of neurodiversity.
Overcoming activist burnout and finding common ground are contributing barriers on why it is so challenging to have conversations about race and education. With the exception of survival Zoom calls, educators have been working in silos and have been isolated from meaningful working relationships. Admittedly, some faculty had established collegial relationships before the pandemic occurred that were maintained. But for those navigating adjunct life or the tenure process during remote instruction, trust and support among contemporaries has been rare.
In response to the public murder of George Floyd, I wrote an open letter to my campus community, where I am an alumnae and current member of the faculty. This letter was written to ask the campus to remember our Black students who were still reeling from the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. I was asking colleagues to have compassion for our students’ vicarious and lived trauma from the constant viewing of unarmed Black people being murdered at the hands of law enforcement.