Statement of Solidarity - Computer Studies

June 9, 2020

“We’ve used the tools of computational creation to unlock immense wealth. We now have the opportunity to unlock even greater equality if we make social change a priority and not an afterthought. And so these are the three tenets that will make up the ‘incoding’ [inclusive coding] movement. Who codes matters, how we code matters and why we code matters.” — Joy Buolamwini

The faculty and staff of the Computer Studies Department would like to express their support of the current civil protests and other efforts of our fellow citizens in exposing and condemning the unjust murders of black Americans and the systemic racism that continues to perpetuate the violence and oppression of black people in America. This system, from which all white Americans derive benefit, seeks to deny opportunity, to inflict violence on black bodies and minds, and to promote marginalization in every way possible, using corrupt economic, moral, legal, and tradition-based arguments to justify that violence, oppression, and marginalization.

Our department’s members commit to holding one another accountable for offering meaningful support and empathy to our black colleagues, students, and community members.  We commit to calling out injustice when it is in front of us, to listening to what members of the black community have to tell us when they speak about their experiences with us - even if it is painful to hear - and to carefully evaluating our own speech and actions for places where we can do better because we can always do better.

The reality is that we cannot bring back those who have been killed. When lives are lost, they cannot just be statistics or horrific stories. It is an individual consciousness that has been stolen; that cannot be taken back. That person will never have another opportunity to follow, never have another adventure to pursue; all of their open paths in life end abruptly, unjustly, and remain unfinished. We have to do the hard work to prevent these tragedies from happening because justice under the law cannot return what has been taken; what we as a world have lost.

There is no more room for inaction and we cannot hesitate. We have to live up to our ideals as educators and provide examples as anti-racist allies that we want the rest of our country to live up to. For every moment we listen rather than co-opting the conversation, truly hear someone when they tell us that we have hurt them, for every time we speak up when someone says or does something that helps to prop up systemic racism, and for every person whose opportunities in life we help fight for, we help make this country and the world the kind of place that is more just for our black fellow citizens to live in. This is our path forward.

Donald Laird
Department Chair, Computer Studies Department
Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa, California