June 11, 2020
The national revolution for racial justice can no longer be ignored. Locally and globally, more people than ever are joining the Black Lives Matter Movement. In U.S. cities large and small, Black leaders and their allies are taking to the streets to protest police brutality.
In addressing systemic racism, we must also acknowledge that institutions of higher education have a long history of upholding white supremacy and protecting those who benefit from it. Although colleges and universities can be sites of oppression, they can also be sites of liberation. We saw this last Saturday when the members of SRJC’s Black Student Union (BSU) organized a powerful and peaceful demonstration that amplified the voices of African American community members. We stand with BSU as they speak truth to power in presenting demands for change. We uphold students’ right to autonomy and self-determination as they engage in the fight for racial justice.
At SRJC Intercultural Centers, we re-commit to cultivating space, resources, and support for students engaged in the struggle for social justice. Campus cultural centers emerged precisely from student movements for racial justice in the U.S. Sometimes referred to as “the house that students built,” they grew out of student demands for campus reform in the 1960s that to this day remain consistent. These demands can be summarized as 1) increased access to higher education for students of color and low-income students; 2) hiring of more staff, administrators, and especially faculty of color; 3) decolonizing the Eurocentric curriculum and establishing Ethnic Studies Departments, and 4) providing cultural centers as safe space and a home away from home for minoritized students and their allies.
We invite you to contact SRJC’s Intercultural Centers if you’re seeking campus allies to strategize ways to combat anti-blackness and other forms of racism and xenophobia on campus and beyond. We center the experiences of students of color, LGBTQ+ students, first-gen students, and other minoritized students who often feel isolated in college environments.
While we offer this space and our labor to develop sustained campus conversations about liberation and equity, we also acknowledge that students may desire collectives that are wholly student-run, in which case we encourage you to connect with activist-minded clubs focused on supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and Queer folks.
- Student Clubs: Black Student Union (BSU), MEChA, Native American Council, Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), and Queer Student Union (QSU), among others. Additionally, there are two relevant clubs that have gone inactive but could be resurrected at any time (and we can help with the paperwork): Mujeres Xingonas and Black and Brown Union (BBU).
Other ways to get involved:
- Join Student Government Assembly
- Join a Learning Community: APASS, Puente, Umoja, Native American Summer Bridge
- Connect with the Queer Resource Center
- Connect with the Dream Center for undocumented students
Despite the campus closure and the temporary loss of access to these physical spaces, our small staff remains here for you, as does our large network of campus allies who work for programs that support students experiencing unjust barriers to college attainment. We invite you to get in touch with us to co-conspire.
With care and respect,
Malena Hernández, Intercultural Center Coordinator, Santa Rosa Campus
Dr. Amanda Morrison, Our House Intercultural Center Coordinator, Petaluma Campus