June 2, 2020
Dear SF State Community,
We write to you today to acknowledge the incredible amount of pain and anger our country and, in particular, our Black students, faculty and staff are feeling right now due to the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd’s death occurred as we were already grappling with the news of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and right before the killing of Tony McDade. These are the latest victims added to a long list of Black lives that have been lost to systemic racism.
With immense loss comes immense grief, and we know it is weighing heavily on many members of our campus community, including us. However, we are inspired by all whose grief has become action: protestors risking their personal safety on the front lines to demand change, as well as members of our campus community whose work focuses on dismantling systemic injustice and elevating the voices of Black people and other people of color. San Francisco State University’s mission includes an “unwavering commitment to social justice” and adhering to this commitment means that we cannot be silent.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
San Francisco State University is committed to an environment where every student, faculty and staff can learn, succeed and feel validated. And we must understand that structural racism and violence is rooted in white supremacy and reproduced through institutional, interpersonal and internal oppression. If we understand that our oppressions are connected, we can work together to dismantle this system and actively work to address anti-Blackness within ourselves and our SFSU community. We are committed to action and solidarity with our Black community at SFSU and across the country to demand justice for all Black lives lost.
Should you need additional support, Student Affairs & Enrollment Management is here for you. The Division of Equity & Community Inclusion offers ongoing support, resources and events for us to connect as a community, and Counseling & Psychological Services provides free counseling. Faculty and staff can access the Employee Assistance Program, a confidential benefit offered by Human Resources. And perhaps our greatest resource is each other. We encourage you to reach out to classmates and colleagues, or connect with a campus or neighborhood mentor. Tell someone you know that you see and feel their humanity and empathize with their pain.
Lastly, we invite you to join a virtual processing session and open mic hosted by the Black Unity Center on Wednesday, June 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. This event is an opportunity for the campus community to gather, discuss and process. More information can be found on the Black Unity Center’s Instagram feed.
Please take care of yourselves and each other.
Beth Hellwig, Ph.D., Interim Vice President
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
Frederick Smith, Ed.D., Assistant Vice President
Equity & Community Inclusion
Tarshel Beards, Director
Black Unity Center