Amplified is the official journal and newsletter of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Washington State Vancouver. Through poetry and prose, the publication amplifies historically underrepresented voices, elevates inclusive spaces of equity, challenges systems of dominance, and promotes healing and love to affirm every human being.
Spring 2021 issue
A word from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion about this issue of Amplified.
Over the past decade, at least 70 people have died in police custody after saying, “I can’t breathe.” The targets ranged in age from 19 to 65, and more than half of them were confirmed to be Black. The majority of people died after being confronted by police for purported reasons including “nonviolent infractions,” 911 calls from others claiming “suspicious behavior” or mental health.
One year ago, in the wake of the shooting deaths of unarmed Black and Brown people, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more, the WSU Vancouver campus community grappled with these injustices and systemic racism, reflected on the honor of breath, and recommitted to its campus imperative to promote an ethical and socially just society through an intentional commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. During this time, while also contending with a pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on people of color and vulnerable communities, the campus community wrestled with two critical questions:
- How are you showing up to realize this commitment?
- What privileges are you willing to sacrifice in order to dismantle racism and center racial equity in university policies, processes and practices?
Now, more than ever, the WSU Vancouver campus community must continue to engage these questions and hold not only the university accountable, but also each other, such that our collective and individual actions align with our words to eradicate systemic oppression, including racism. On this day, we speak the name of George Floyd. We send healing and care to his loved ones. We must continue to speak his name and require accountability and cultural responsiveness of those officials sworn and entrusted to protect and serve all Black, Brown, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, Native American, Asian and White people. Accordingly, we must continue advocating justice for, speaking names and sending continued energy to loved ones of:
- Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Jenoah Donald, Kevin Peterson Jr., Manuel Ellis, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, and the countless number of fellow humans targeted by state and deadly violence whose names we know and do not know.
- Fellow human beings whose lives have been taken in recent mass shootings, including at Indianapolis, Ind., Atlanta, Ga., and Boulder, Colo., whose names we know and do not know.
- Our fellow human beings of Indianapolis: Matthew Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Amarjeet Johal, Jasvinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Skhon, Karlie Smith, John Weistert.
- Our fellow human beings of Atlanta: Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Yaun, Yong Ae Yue.
- Our fellow human beings of Boulder: Tralona Bartkowiak, Suzanne Fountain, Teri Leiker, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, Rikki Olds, Denny Strong, Neven Stanisic, Jody Waters, Eric Talley.
- More than 500,000 fellow human beings in the United States who have succumbed to their battle with COVID-19. People of Color are dying of the virus and have limited access to the vaccine at disproportionate rates.
On April 21 and April 28, the BaCE program will hold self-care sessions to create art for equity, justice, love, joy and empowerment to appear in the Virtual Gallery of Affirmations. These self-care sessions are open to students, staff and faculty. The SEEC Association will host the fourth annual Four Cs Reception for Staff and Faculty of Color on Friday, April 23. You are also encouraged to use the following support resources as we continue moving through this time and space.
- Student Resources: Wellness Center; CILA; Care Network
- Faculty and Staff Resources: Employee Assistance Program; Human Resources; BaCE Program
- Equity and Belonging Resources: Equity and Justice Resources Page; Virtual Gallery of Affirmations
- To report bias incidents: Compliance and Civil Rights Office
George Floyd said he could not breathe 25 times as police restrained him. Byron Williams said he could not breathe 17 times as police restrained him. Eric Garner said he could not breathe 11 times as police restrained him. Manuel Ellis said he could not breathe as police restrained him. Elijah McClain said he could not breathe as police restrained him. Eric Harris said he could not breathe as police restrained him.
Today and every day, take a breath for George Floyd and all fellow human beings whose last breaths and lives were taken by state and other targeted forms of violence. Take a breath for equity. Take a breath for accountability. Take a breath for justice. Take a breath for empowerment. Take a breath for humanity. Take a breath for love. We have so much more to do. Honor the power of breath. Appreciate the ripeness of this moment. Advocate accountability. Activate your agency for systemic change.
Obie Ford III, Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Obie’s words are both personal and powerful. We stand in support of, and in solidarity with, his statement.
Mel Netzhammer, Chancellor
Renny Christopher, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Domanic Thomas, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment
Submit your affirmation
The Virtual Gallery of Affirmations is an ongoing project. WSU Vancouver students, faculty, staff, campus partners and neighbors are welcomed to submit works of affirmation (letters, messages, art, poetry, etc.) to appear in the virtual gallery. Send to Obie Ford III, firstname.lastname@example.org and Brenda Alling, email@example.com