Editor’s Note: Chapman University President Daniele C. Struppa issued the following statement to the campus community on Tuesday, June 2.
Across the country, people continue to protest the horrific deaths of not just George Floyd, but of Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and so many others that have died at the hands of racism. We stand together with those fighting against the social injustice they experience every day. We stand together with our own members of the Chapman Family who are grieving and angry at their own losses and their own experiences.
On Friday, June 5 at 11:00 a.m. we held a Vigil for Victims of Violence and Racism, and a Call to Action (recording below). Together, let’s take a moment of silence and embrace words of reflection on those affected by racism and violence. We need to come together to mourn but also find ways we can make a difference. Sponsored by Civic Engagement Initiatives, the Cross Cultural Center, and the Fish Interfaith Center, Rev. Cisa Payuyo, Associate Director of Church Relations, Shaykh Jibreel Speight, Director of Muslim Life, Justin Riley, Associate Director of Student Community Support and Development, and others will lead us in this much-needed vigil.
Reaffirming our shared humanity and resolve to insist on social justice is more important than ever. To continue the dialogue on how we, as a community, will move through this and work to impact change, join me for a special virtual conversation,“Turning Anguish to Purpose,” on Tuesday, June 9 at 2 p.m. with Jimmie C. Gardner and Presidential Fellow in Peace Studies, “Prexy” (Rozell W.) Nesbitt. Jimmie C. Gardner was a rising professional baseball player when he was wrongly incarcerated and spent 27 years in jail before being exonerated. Since his release, Gardner has become an advocate for other wrongfully imprisoned and over-incarcerated peoples. “Prexy” (Rozell W.) Nesbitt is a Presidential Fellow in Peace Studies in Chapman’s Wilkinson College. Born on Chicago’s West Side, Nesbitt was a major figure in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa and police brutality in the United States.
I encourage each of you to take part in these events. We must do more as a campus community to positively impact change in our own culture and create a safe environment for students, faculty and staff of color. These events can provide a springboard for action as we continue to address critical issues.
As an academic institution, I would like to stress that our commitment to diversity and inclusion extend into the curriculum. For example, next week’s event, “Turning Anguish to Purpose,” connects to a larger Wilkinson College initiative, “Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race.” Throughout the fall, Wilkinson College’ of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences will be partnering with other colleges, student organizations, and multiple instructors and courses to interrogate the significance of race through a virtual film series, virtual guest lectures and roundtables, a podcast series, art exhibit, and concluding conference featuring student research projects. Additionally, Honors is sponsoring of a semester-long seminar on “Institutional Racism in America,” building on the work done by one of our own Trustees, Andy Horowitz.
On June 19, at 1:00 p.m., Dr. Lindsey Shen and Jessica Bocinski are hosting a virtual discussion on the film “A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone.” “A New Color” joyfully profiles the life and work of celebrated artist Edythe Boone, whose colorful murals portray some of the major events of our time and illustrate the transformative power of art. Long before Black Lives Matter became a rallying cry, septuagenarian Boone embodied that truth as an accomplished artist and educator. From humble Harlem roots, the indefatigable Boone pursued her love of art and her dream of someday creating a new color – “a color that no one had ever seen before.”
Finally, I invite you to read a reflection from Fish Interfaith Center Dean of the Chapel Gail Stearns who addresses the recent deaths and trauma being experienced across the country.
Fostering a community of care that supports the success of students is essential to the values of Chapman University, and the Dean of Students Office is available to support students all year, and especially through these times. You can contact the Dean of Students team by calling (714) 997-6721 or email email@example.com. Additionally, the University has created a network of care and support for all students, including Student Psychological and Counseling Services which are available to support student psychological well-being as they pursue personal and academic goals. Lastly, there are some additional resources to support students:
- The Cross-Cultural Center offers programs, resources, and services designed to celebrate diverse cultures and traditions, affirm students’ unique identities, cultivate empathy, and create community at Chapman. Students can connect with the Cross-Cultural Center anytime by emailing the facility’s staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cross-Cultural Center is currently offering opportunities for students to connect with staff through daily Google Hangouts; please visit www.chapman.edu/crossculturalcenter for details.
- Civic Engagement Initiatives offers experiences wherein students develop the knowledge, skills, and motivation for engagement in our diverse society. If you’re wondering What can I/we do? in light of the national demonstrations and dialogue following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, please know there are many ways you can be engaged in your local and the national communities. Civic Engagement Initiatives has compiled a few ideas for taking personal and public action. Please email email@example.com to discuss other ideas and resources for getting engaged in issues affecting your community. Civic Engagement Initiatives is hosting weekly virtual tabling on @LifeatCU on Wednesdays at 10:30am (PST) to provide resources for staying informed of and engaged with current events.
- The Cross-Cultural Education and Resource Team (CERT) is an advisory group in Student Affairs that can connect students or student groups affected by bias incidents with support and resources, while engaging students in shaping constructive responses for community education and empowerment. To contact CERT, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we all struggle to move forward, know that there are resources at Chapman to help you through this.