How we Chose to ‘Rise from the Ashes’ for Fall Focus

This summer I had the opportunity to work with the most wonderful colleagues from CCBC and how we came together is a blur. It was a moment in time catapulted by the images and recordings of unnecessary acts of violence against people of color. Our desire to do more to demonstrate and educate others that this behavior is unacceptable, is what brought us together. The idea started on a whim when Professor Ann Kaiser Stearns contacted me.

Photo of Andre Ifill

Andre’ Ifill
Assistant Professor, Wellness
Member, CRTL Advisory Committee

 I honestly communicated with her that I wasn’t psychologically in a good place because of personal past experiences with excessive use of force. She asked if there was something she could do to help, and I said, “stand and fight with me.” Standing on the sidelines isn’t enough. Almost like it was out of a movie, she said she knew some people at CCBC that are ready to fight. Next thing I know, literally later that day, we are on a Zoom call, no permission from CCBC to do anything at this point, throwing ideas out. We finally decided on what to do and asked CCBC President Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis if she could allot us the time at Fall Focus, the opening meeting for all faculty and staff, for a special presentation. She said yes, and trusted us to properly educate those who are open to being anti-racist. Off to work we went.

At first, we had big plans and soon came to realize that our biggest issue was time. How do you take hundreds of years of systematic inequality and condense them into 75 minutes? We wanted to include the right message, music to set the tone of urgency in addressing this and most importantly other members of the CCBC family to share their experiences, so we can see how systematic racism has affected so many members of our own family. Overall, I believe that we covered what we needed to and the overall talent of those in our virtual meetings showed up in the final product. (Watch our presentation here). The feedback was positive in most cases from the CCBC community. Unfortunately, there are some that refuse to examine the facts and face the truth about systematic racism. What I do know is that we helped inform those who wanted to learn more. There is still more work to be done though. The fight doesn’t end until true equality and equity is achieved for everyone.

One last “Thank You” to Ann, Ingrid, Amy, Vicki, Patricia, and Sakina for all the long hours and hard work that went into our presentation.