Nearly all facets of the Long Beach State campus have come out in support of the black community on campus following the eruption of nationwide protests calling for justice and an end to police brutality.
The Black Student Union led the campus in recognition after posting an artistic rendering of George Floyd on Instagram just days after his murder when the news was first shared with the world.
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We are standing in solidarity with #GeorgeFloyd, another BLACK man’s life taken by the police. History has been repeating itself and we need to put a stop to this cycle. We need to rebel, we need to protest and most importantly we need to protect our lives in this world that is structured to be against us. How many more times are we going to have to say someone’s name? How many more times are we going to have to repost videos of the KILLINGS of our people? We need to stick together and organize as well as joining organizations that is made to HELP our family. Prayers going up for Brother Floyd’s family as well as the many others whose lives have been cut short by the police.
“We need to stick together and organize as well as joining organizations that is made to help our family,” their caption read.
Since their initial statement, BSU has hosted an open discussion to allow members of the community to discuss different topics and organize as a group. They have also been providing links to resources for mental health and support for the black community during this time.
President Jane Close Conoley has also come out in support of the black community with a video message.
“While previous OneBeach messages have focused on what our campus community is doing to manage the challenges of the pandemic, I feel it’s important now to discuss the issues that are front and center at this moment: racial injustice and police brutality,” Conoley said.
In her message, Conoley laid out the university’s plans to respond to racial inequities.
“Our vision statement is we will be a force for good in public higher education for California and the world,” Conoley said. “It’s time to show up. We are taking action and the list of what must be done continues to grow.”
Deliverables Conoley noted included working to expand the ethnic studies department by offering more courses, offering more admissions through the Beach Pathway program to “traditionally underrepresented groups of students” and working with the University Police Department to adopt a more community-based approach to policing.
All 23 California State University campus police departments joined together in denouncing police brutality, including Chief Fernando Solorzano of CSULB.
“The law enforcement oath to protect and serve is a responsibility we take
seriously, as we hold ourselves to a higher standard to build trust in our communities,” their statement read. “We will continue to engage in open dialogue, review our practices, revise our training, improve our cultural education, enforce accountability, collaborate with our community leaders, and maintain transparency.”
Counseling and Psychological Service director Bongjoo Hwang also issued a statement in support of the black community.
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From CSULB CAPS Director, Dr. Bongjoo Hwang: Dear CSULB students and campus community, In light of recent news highlighting discriminatory and deadly acts towards Black/African American people in our country, the CAPS team is reminded of the difficulty many of our students face on a daily basis. These injustices happen all too often and are also not isolated to just our Black and African American community. We have also become increasingly aware of Asian/Asian American people being blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic and targeted for retaliatory attacks and harassment. These are just the most recent stories in the news, though we know there have been many in our history for all people of color. The CAPS team identifies as a center focused on social justice, and we condemn any kind of bias and hatred that unfairly oppress any group of people. We wanted to acknowledge that these recent incidents can have negative and profound psychological impact on the individuals who identify themselves similarly. If you are affected by these incidents, we would like you to know that CAPS is here for you. If you would like to talk to a counselor to process the impact of these experiences, please call our main number 562-985-4001. Sincerely, CAPS Team
“The CAPS team identifies as a center focused on social justice and we condemn any kind of bias and hatred that unfairly oppress any group of people,” Hwang said in an Instagram post.
Hwang said that CAPS is available to provide counseling services at this time for those deeply affected by the current situation.
“We wanted to acknowledge that these recent incidents can have negative and profound psychological impact on the individuals who identify themselves similarly,” Hwang said.
The psychology department also issued a statement standing with the black community and promised seven deliverables to reshape and redirect the department as a whole.
“Our department was inspired to issue this statement because we are angry. It is absolutely unconscionable that these murders continue to occur with impunity,” they said in an official statement. “We wanted to both show our solidarity with our Black students, staff, faculty, and communities, but also, we wanted to make sure that we did some introspection to see where we could take action to make lasting, positive changes.”
The promises included recognition of the role psychology plays in racism, support of an ethnic studies requirement at CSULB, reexamining course materials and addressing gaps that may be present in bridging teaching of equity and diversity and seeking more diverse candidates when hiring.
Several departments also participated in the national #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownStem day on June 10.
The day was intended as a day of pause and reflection of those in higher education, specifically those in the STEM field, to consider how racism and inequality affect their fields.
“Black academic and Black STEM professionals are hurting because they exist in and are attacked by institutional and systemic racism. Black people have been tirelessly working for change, alongside their Indigenous and People of Color allies,” the official website read. “For Black academics and STEM professionals, #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM is a time to prioritize their needs—whether that is to rest, reflect, or to act—without incurring additional cumulative disadvantage.”
Provost Brian Jersky, along with the College of Engineering and others, posted this message from the organization calling on their colleagues to participate.
Associated Students Inc. has also been a vocal supporter of the black community in recent weeks.
ASI president Omar Prudencio Gonzalez, Vice President Maythe Alderete Gonzalez and Treasurer Adriana Andrade produced a joint statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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ASI President Omar Prudencio Gonzalez, Vice President Maythe Alderete Gonzalez and Treasurer Adriana Andrade released the following joint statement on the recent protests involving George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter at the conclusion of their first day in office…⠀ ⠀ —-Statement—-⠀ ⠀ Dear Long Beach State Family, ⠀ ⠀ As we begin our term as your ASI Executive Officers today, we find it necessary to take a moment to pay our respect to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other Black individuals who have been murdered at the hands of police. This is a moment where no one should remain silent. It is our belief that to be silent is to be complicit. We stand in solidarity with the fight against systemic racism, white supremacy, and the historic oppression of the Black community. BLACK LIVES MATTER. ⠀ ⠀ We acknowledge that this statement does not solve systemic racism but we want our Long Beach family to know we are committed to creating the change within our CSULB community. We ask that students, faculty, staff and community members use their voice and their platforms. Educate yourself in order to educate folks around you. This fight for Black lives begins at home and within ourselves. It is our duty to take action. Donate, raise your voice, and educate each other. ⠀ ⠀ Over the coming days our team will be working with our student community and campus partners to tackle this head on. The time for powerful words has come and gone – we must continue to organize, act, and make a real impact to truly honor the memory of those we needlessly lost to hate. ⠀ ⠀ In Solidarity,⠀ 2020-21 ASI Executive Officers ⠀ ⠀ Photo credit 📸 @Daily49er / @richardgrant88
“We acknowledge that this statement does not solve systemic racism but we want our Long Beach family to know we are committed to creating the change within our CSULB community,” they said.
They called on the campus community to educate themselves and others, and to organize and “take action.”
“The time for powerful words has come and gone—we must continue to organize, act, and make a real impact to truly honor the memory of those we needlessly lost to hate,” they said.