The civil unrest occurring throughout our nation is rooted in a long history and recent acts of racial injustice and violence, including the tragic deaths of Black Americans. In communities across the country, a clear message is being sent: Enough is Enough. Words and sentiments can do little to console the justifiable feelings of pain resulting from the unjust and senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, among countless others. Make no mistake, change is urgently required — racial justice must replace the racism, marginalization, and oppression of Black Americans. As you all know so well, working towards racial equity is core to our collective work, so while this moment is especially painful, it is also one to which we are called to serve.
While each of us must help create a more just and compassionate society, the institutions we oversee and serve are duty-bound to lead in this effort. Generations of men and women before us have worked on our campuses and many more will follow in the years to come. We are mere stewards of the institutions we serve and the Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura college campuses belong to the people – all of them. What shall we do with our moment in history? As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
As difficult as this past week has been, there have been remarkable instances of leadership, compassion, and dignity. Countless voices from all backgrounds have joined arm in arm for the rights of fellow Americans who have for too long seen their dreams and lives taken from them by racist attitudes, acts of violence, and systemic injustices. Neighbors have come together to stop vandalism and to clean up their communities. We’ve also seen many law enforcement officers protect and even join with protesters to demand a new way forward. As Senator Robert Kennedy once observed, each of these individual acts sets forth a “tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest wall of oppression and resistance.” We must each resolve to set forth ripples of hope throughout our own community. Fortunately, we are well positioned to do just that.
We often speak of our campuses as serving or working with the community around us, but make no mistake we are the community. From Simi Valley to Ventura and Santa Paula to Oxnard, our students, faculty, and staff represent the families and neighbors who make our community strong. Therefore, we need not search far for spaces and ways to build a more just society. We are on the frontlines of that effort each and every day and it falls to us to create racial justice and to help our students and one another heal. Not the type of healing that gets us back to where we once were, but the type of healing that lifts up our neighborhoods and broadens equitable opportunity for our students. Let us all be the leaders this moment calls for, building pathways to brighter futures for everyone – particularly those for whom racial injustices are all too real.
This past week has brought forth many emotions, including despair, discouragement, anger, sadness, frustration, and more. All understandably rising to the forefront. From myself and our Board of Trustees to each of you, please know that our hearts ache with yours and we stand with you to support racial justice and equality.
Continue to be safe, care for each other, and support our students in need.
Board of Trustees
Chair Bernardo M. Perez
Vice Chair Joshua Chancer
Trustee Larry Kennedy
Trustee Dianne B. McKay
Trustee Gabriela Torres
Greg Gillespie, Chancellor
Kim Hoffmans, Ventura College President
Luis Sanchez, Oxnard College President
Julius Sokenu, Moorpark College President
Laura Barroso, Human Resources Director
Patti Blair, Administrative Officer
Laura Brower, Executive Assistant
Larry Buckley, Vice Chancellor Institutional Effectiveness
David El Fattal, Vice Chancellor Business Services
Andrea Ingley, Director Human Resources and Personnel Commission
Dan Watkins, Associate Vice Chancellor Information Technology