Provost's Corner

June 5, 2020

Dear Oakes Community:

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th of this year added to a long and shameful list of Black people murdered by police in the United States and across the world. We recognize and say the names of Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down by vigilantes, Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home while in bed by police, and Tony McDade, a Black trans man who was killed by police and continues to be misgendered and disrespected by law enforcement and the media. Our communities have rightfully come together to voice their protest and rage against this violence. 

We want to acknowledge that this moment is particularly difficult for our Black students, staff, and faculty. 

The pain of these tragic murders does not solely lie in the unjust treatment of Black folks in our society, but it extends to our society's attempts to minimize that pain, to minimize this reality, and to erase the historical connection of this tragedy to the very foundations of this country. Right now, police across the U.S. are violently attacking demonstrators who are standing up against police violence. The president has deployed National Guard Military Police to intimidate and suppress demonstrators. Police across the U.S. are violently attacking journalists and legal observers. Our collective voices denounce these actions.

To our community members who have chosen to make little of the demands by Black folks to be treated with dignity and respect — much less to not be killed — we call you in and challenge you to look within yourself. Why are the voices, stories, and pain of Black people not sufficient cause for you to demand more of your society and government? Furthermore, we call upon ourselves, and all members of our community, to continue to learn and grow through the necessary, vulnerable, and challenging work of dismantling the anti-blackness that permeates all communities. This difficult work requires diligence and continual reflection.

Oakes College supports the demonstrations in defense of Black life. We call for the abolition of the police. We call for the abolition of the entire prison industrial complex. Another world is possible. Black Lives Matter.

In solidarity,

Your Oakes Leadership Team

Marcia Ochoa, Provost

Mari Ortíz McGuire, Senior Director of Student Life

Danny Rodríguez, Lead Academic Preceptor