Statements from Vice President of Student Services

June 3, 2020 
Sent to LWTech Student Services staff

Good Morning Folks,

I’m grateful to those of you who joined me at our division meeting on Monday. I’ve attached the PowerPoint I used that day.

If you were not able to attend, I spent 8 minutes and 46 seconds reading the names of unarmed Black and African American people who were killed by police over the past several years; the names are slides 3 - 34. This is not an exhaustive list. I am grateful to Code Switch from NPR for this information.

The presentation includes my synopsis of the excellent How to Fight Hate toolkit provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, you can access the full toolkit here.

Since this time I have also learned more about local ways to specifically combat police violence at the local level. The suggestions provided by President Obama and available on the Obama Foundation website were particularly actionable and meaningful to me. Specifically, voting in local elections is a key step as police oversight boards, police chief elections or appointments, and the leaders with authority over local police are all determined by local elections. If you are not registered to vote and would like to be go here. Please hold in your mind that voting as a right has been systemically undermined especially for folks who have gone through our criminal justice system (which means it disproportionately impacts black and brown people). If you have the privilege to vote, you have the opportunity to use that power to help end systems of oppression. You can find the President and Mrs. Obama’s statements and other actionable steps to take here.

Some of you have asked for reading recommendations, here are a few and I’ll include more in my next weekly update:

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • LET'S GET REAL: What People of Color Can't say and Whites Won't Ask About Racism by Lee Mun Wah
  • This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell (aimed at young adults)
  • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (for babies and toddlers and grown-ups who wish they had this when they were younger) 

Wishing all of you strength and determination.

Ruby.

Ruby Hayden, Ph.D.
Vice President of Student Services 
My pronouns: she/her


June 1, 2020 
Sent to LWTech Student Services staff

Dear Student Services,

I know many of you are experiencing different stages of shock, grief, and anger. I am too. I’m not ready to talk about it. I can’t be eloquent. I don’t know how to be professional in the face of murder. I’ve tried and failed to write this email for days. I’m going to push forward anyways; silence or avoidance in the face of oppression is one more manifestation of white privilege. 

Again (again!), an unarmed black man was murdered by police officers. Eight minutes and 46 seconds with a knee on his neck. George Floyd begged for his life and Officer Derek Chauvin killed him. The other officers on the scene did not protect George Floyd but participated in his murder. If you have not yet learned about this heinous act, I found the NY Times compilation to be the most helpful in understanding the details of what happened (please note the video footage is graphic): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html

This incident was not isolated. This incident was not unusual. This incident was not just because of the individual bad choices of some officers, but also due to systemic racial inequality in our nation and the way racism is fundamentally built into our law enforcement systems.

Executive Cabinet will be meeting tomorrow to discuss additional ways the college can take action. If you have suggestions you are willing to share with me to take forward, please do so. You can email me privately or, if you feel more comfortable, we have a division meeting later today and I’ll make time for folks to share suggestions anonymously in the usual way. Thank you to those of you who have already emailed me.

I have shared this with you before, but it is always the right time to share it again. I believe that our student and staff lives matter. Black and brown lives matter. GLBTQIA lives matter. Poor lives matter. Disabled lives matter. Veteran lives matter. Immigrant and refugee lives matter. Marginalized. Lives. Matter. So many of our students (and staff) come to us with histories where they have been told they don’t matter; both explicitly and in daily covert ways. Right now the very response of law enforcement agencies to most protests across the US, including here is Seattle, reinforce to people that black lives don’t matter.

We have an opportunity to make people feel welcome. To make people feel like they are a person and not a number. To show people how they matter to us and this community. Take that opportunity, please.

Ruby.

Ruby Hayden, Ph.D. 
Vice President of Student Services 
My pronouns: she/her