At Pacifica Graduate Institute, we are deeply distressed and aggrieved by the senseless, ongoing violence directed at black members of our communities. We grieve Mr. George Floyd’s death as the latest hate-motivated tragedy in a society riven by dehumanization and lack of empathy for fellow citizens based on mindless racist projections. This deep stain on the American soul has a long and dreadful history, and despite great efforts to educate, reform, retrain, add body cameras to police attire, there has not been effective, lasting change in overall behavior by police departments throughout the country. The legacy of systemic racial oppression continues to shape how we perceive ourselves and one another, and must actively be countered if its virulence is to be checked, and its lethal effects transformed. The results of this oppression include the differential health care being offered during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which African Americans and other people of color are suffering mortality at a much higher rate than white populations, especially those with better access to health facilities and PPEs.
Our willingness to confront the prevalent complacency and denial, where they exist is a critical first step. While Pacifica’s core values have always incorporated attention to issues of diversity, this moment in history offers us a valuable opportunity to emphasize our shared commitment to “a heartfelt regard for a diverse community” and the cultivation of “an honest and caring presence among ourselves, our students, and the world around us” (http://www.pacifica.edu/about-pacifica/core-values). Therefore, while peaceful protest is an exceedingly essential means in seeking eradication of racist behaviors, it alone is not sufficient. We acknowledge the need for these protests to be accompanied by meaningful non-violent actions; thus, we are once again called upon to issue a call to action:
Write your legislators and demand the following:
- Demand legislation to make it a felony to call the police and knowingly make false accusations of committing a crime, with mandatory incarceration and fines.
- Demand that a multiracial, multigenerational bipartisan commission be formed to have civilian oversight of all police departments with complaints of racial bias and police brutality.
- Demand protection of the right to video police arrests.
- Demand an assessment of police activities and subsequent reallocation of funds to more appropriate agencies for issues of mental health, homelessness, and drug use.
Use your vote to elect legislators who would be responsive to such demands.
Through this statement, Pacifica Graduate Institute recognizes that caring for the soul of the world must include addressing and transforming racism in ourselves and in our communities. Thus, we shall more actively pursue the following:
Practice tolerance by mindfully and actively listening to those who are sincerely saying they wish to address concerns about prejudice in its various forms. For example, wherever possible attending to expressions of legitimate learning needs for a diverse curriculum without inspiring fear of denial or penalization. This is an integral part of an educational culture that expects such demands.
As a school founded upon principles of depth psychology, we embrace the commitment to a process grounded in valuing diversity when hiring employees. We shall require consciousness of equality in all current and future employees, and we expect our community to actively cooperate in designing and implementing ways of ending systemic racism. Success in achieving fairness of treatment among all community members requires transparency and clear lines of communication that are inclusive. Faculty and staff training regarding equity for all shall be an ongoing aspect of community life.
We commit to naming racism where it is seen and felt within our institution, and to actively engage with the discomfort, embarrassment, anger, shame, and grief that attend the process of reconciliation and repair. Individually and collectively, we pledge to share our expertise in transforming racism, where that is needed in our local communities and across the country. We invite mindful dialogue and informed critical debate on the subject of racism in our classrooms, and in the public forums we sponsor and attend. We understand this work as necessary to our evolution as a community of scholars and learners, and as a mark of our shared commitment to supporting the difficult task of being fully human.
We invite you, the members of the Pacifica community, to help us realize all of these goals.
Joseph Cambray, Ph.D.
President/CEO, Pacifica Graduate Institute
In collaborations with: Dr. Peter Rojcewicz, Provost; Dr. Fanny Brewster, Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council; Dr. Rae Johnson, Academic Senate President; and with the endorsement of Dr. Thyonne Gordon, Chair of The Board of Trustees and Mr. Paul Hudson, Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees.