A Time to Stand Strong: A Message to the CJC Community from Dean Diane McFarlin
Dear CJC Colleagues and Students:
The killing of George Floyd is a tragedy of multiple dimensions. It is both despicable and intolerable that a Black man would be treated with such disdain by law enforcement that he would lose his life.
This comes on the heels of the deaths of other Black Americans – Ahmaud Abrey, Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner, who also died in a police chokehold. It is a painful reality that has thrown America into what historian Douglas Brinkley calls the worst “spasm of riots since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.”
I know you join me in denouncing this continued systemic racism and injustice perpetrated on people of color in this country. As a community we are grieving over the senseless injustice of yet another incident that calls into question the very core of our nation’s founding as a place where opportunity exists for everyone.
At CJC, we are also feeling the sting of attacks on our brethren journalists, as if silencing the messengers will make the ugliness go away. We object in the strongest terms to this treatment of members of the Fourth Estate and emphasize our belief that the role of journalists has never been more important than it is today.
From social injustice and the normalization of systemic racism to disproportionate death rates in the face of COVID-19, this is our collective burden. It is time that we work together to correct this disparity.
As communicators, our responsibility includes telling the story of injustice and inequity. The mission of CJC is to teach the next generation of communicators how to continue our practice of being the eyes and ears of the public, of reporting all events fairly and accurately, of being socially conscious in our communication, and of acting for the good of all communities.
As protests erupt across the nation, we are learning that many of you are directly affected. I want you to know that we are concerned and that we are here for you. I also have heard that some of you are afraid for your own safety when you return to campus. Please know that we will do everything within our power to ensure that you are protected whenever you are at Weimer Hall. At CJC we are joined by common values, and we have worked hard to build an inclusive culture. This is the time to capitalize on that culture, not allow it to be compromised.
At a time when the country seems to be coming unraveled, it is critically important that we stand strong for each other. It is times like this when our common bonds should be more important than what divides us.
We are grateful to our faculty and staff for all they contribute to our mission of inclusion, diversity and equity. We are hopeful for the future as we observe our students demonstrate a commitment to these principles. And we thank all members of Gator Nation who demonstrate their dedication to justice and equality every day.
(The CJC Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee has compiled a list of resources intended to inform, encourage discussion and motivate action against systemic racism and social injustice. Read more.)