Letter to the Field 5-31-20

Dear fellow CIOs,

Thank you for your call to action. We stand as an organization with our African American students, faculty, staff, CIOs, deans, and other leaders. We must recognize the deep-rooted pain and injustice experienced systematically by black communities in our country, highlighted especially in recent days/months by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. We recognize also the racism faced by our Asian American communities during this pandemic. Racism in all of its forms must never be tolerated in our colleges and our society. And, of course, you are right, we must do better, and we must be better. As a predominantly white organization, we must stand with our black brothers, sisters, and non-binary siblings to say enough is enough. We must also reach out and protect black students from an educational system based on colonialism and white supremacy, built for those who do not look like the majority of the students in our system. We must find more and better ways on a daily basis to stand up for and support our students of color, who are often our most vulnerable groups on our campuses. We must also foster and support our leaders of color on our campuses to become our future CIOs.

Our focus this past year has been on equity in service to our students of color, and to do everything in our power to meet their needs. We welcome the leadership of our statewide CIOs in an upcoming Town Hall where meeting the needs of our black, brown, and other students of color will serve as a central topic. We are working out the details of the meeting, but CIOs please set aside time June 25th 3:00-6:00p.m. We welcome participation from the field in planning the discussions; please contact Dr. Jennifer Vega La Serna at jenniferl@cos.edu or Don Miller at ddmiller@peralta.edu to volunteer.

We will also be working with CIO volunteers to retool the workshops that were being prepared for the April conference, which was to focus on the practical application of equity work for our students. We hope to again focus the fall conference on racial, gender, and equity work in service to our communities (even if the meetings have to be remote). We would also like to co-sponsor a series of racial equity workshops with the state chancellor’s office as there is a dire need to improve this in our system.

We stand in solidarity; Black Lives Matter; our colleagues of color are of utmost importance to the health, vitality, and well-being of our colleges. We look forward to engaging in further discussions statewide to better serve and support, and focus on real systemic change.

Sincerely,

Leandra Martin, President, California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers (CCCCIO)
Jennifer Vega La Serna, President Elect, CCCCIO
Don Miller, Vice President, CCCCIO