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Black Lives Matter

A message from OCCC President Jerry Steward

    (Published: 06-06-20)

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

College Campus

Family is very important to me, as I know it is to all of you. This week, a relative decided to participate in some of the protest activities that took place around the country, and I was afraid for her. Proud, but afraid. I worried about her getting lost in the crowd, being arrested, being harassed or being harmed. I would do anything to shield her from violence or injustice, but all I could do was tell her I loved her and hope she would return to her home safely.

Many in our black community feel that way every single day, and have for their entire lives. They fear for their children’s safety and for their own. And they have good reason to fear: For far too long and far too often, black people have been disproportionately killed by the police without just cause. Many black people die in America just because of the color of their skin, and because of the irrational fear, prejudice and anger held by people who look like me.

This is unacceptable. This is shameful. It is not political. It is not debatable. It is evil. 

And it must stop.

It is not my place to speak for the black community, but as President of Oklahoma City Community College, it is my responsibility to ensure a safe campus for our students, faculty, staff and guests. It is our collective mission to usher educated, responsible, respectful and kind people out into the world. And because racism has no place in our world, we must ensure that teaching our students – and reminding ourselves – to celebrate each other’s differences is an integral part of our classrooms and our culture. We will share in each other’s successes, we will mourn each other’s losses, and we must fight for each other’s freedoms and opportunities.

Now is the time to stand with our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and those we have never met, but whose lives have just as much value as our own. Black lives matter.

Let us not allow the world to continue on as it is. Let us instead relentlessly pursue what it should be.

Thank you.

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