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Response to Shooting of Jacob Blake

Aug. 28, 2020

Dr. Dawn Lindsay, president of Anne Arundel Community College, released a statement in response to another tragic incident involving a black man and a police officer. As a college, AACC has made a commitment to equity and inclusivity. The full text of her message is below.

At our virtual Fall Convocation the Vice Presidents and I spoke about our new strategic plan, and how equity and inclusion is central to that plan. This work couldn’t be more crucial at this point in time as we learn of another tragic incident between a black man and a police officer.

This news, now so frequent, can lead to feelings of anger, despair, exhaustion, fear and grief. Many of our colleagues and students are in pain and suffering from the continual reminder that black lives are assaulted, maimed and killed. 

We question when it will end. Similarly, we ask what we can do. I want to begin to answer that question by building upon something Dr. Gavin said last week. Racism, especially systemic racism, will not be dismantled by saying we are not racist. It can only happen when we choose to become anti-racist.

What does being anti-racist look like? Here are some things that we as a college can do, will do and are doing:

  • Eliminate barriers to students of color by ensuring equity in college systems and practices.
  • Close equity gaps in class success and graduation rates.
  • Provide support to students through services, counseling, clubs and other college resources.
  • Review internal policies and procedures to support greater equity and inclusion for faculty and staff.
  • Provide training for all faculty and staff to meet our equity and inclusion goals.

These are examples of actions taken at an institutional level. Now what can we do as individuals? I have noted before and want to reiterate that we can listen, learn and educate.

  • We can listen to one another with open hearts and minds.
  • We can learn about our own biases and “blind spots.” We have many professional development programs and experts that can guide our learning.
  • We can educate our students and each other.
  • We can hold fast to our values, especially of community and relationships.
  • We can support one another by reaching out and checking in on our colleagues, families and friends.
  • We can take care of ourselves and avail ourselves of the many health resources as employees of AACC.

Today marks the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. It is evident the march toward social justice and greater equity is long and hard. We have both an obligation and a moral imperative to our students and our community to continue that march. AACC emphatically stands against hate and advocates the social justice reform necessary to eradicate racism and respect black lives. 

Let us work together to march on.

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Angie Hamlet
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