An Open Invitation to Stop the Silence – Black Lives Matter Townhall Update

By Melissa Monroe-Young
NVC Marketing & Strategic Communications

The doors are starting to creep open. Northwest Vista College’s virtual discussion on July 9 regarding Black Lives Matter was the slow opening to a deeper discussion of what it truly means to be antiracist.

We’ve always known that diversity is important. We have diversity on campus from our employees to students, but what was lacking was inclusion – actually being invited to the table. We know what racism is, but the college has been silent on what it truly means to be antiracist for too long – more employees of color in leadership roles, unbiased hiring, and increased options for promotions.

The current Black Lives Matter movement in America is opening the eyes of many people and organizations. Instead of saying diversity is important, we are now critically looking at ourselves in the mirror. As a Black and Mexican American woman, I’ve also been learning in this process. I have been fighting for diversity and black voices for most of my adult life, but I never took the time to hear why someone chose to be silent when they saw an injustice or wrongdoing.

In my breakout session at NVC’s Black Lives Matter discussion, I was moved by how passionate people felt in my group. Their emotions were raw. They wanted to know how NVC can truly change if we don’t get support from our district office. They wanted to know if this discussion is just a band-aid and if what is said will go nowhere. They asked, “Why speak up, when it will just fall on deaf ears?” I agree!

But this is why we should ALL speak up – the future is at stake. I want my Black son to live in a society where he won’t be discriminated against. I want his friends to speak out because we taught them how. I don’t want another principal to call me and apologize because my son was called the N-word in a well-diverse school. This is our chance to teach our students and employees to Speak Up!

You can’t be silent when your Black colleague is being mishandled by the police at a college-sanctioned outing. We have to show others that it’s racist to call the police on one of our Black employees who is sitting in his OWN office. We have to accurately tell students about America’s history and how racism is ingrained in our society. Speaking up is hard work, but NVC can’t stay silent any longer.

Because I spoke up, I’m now a part of NVC’s Access Advocacy Inclusivity Diversity & Equity (AAIDE) Committee, which was the group that helped put the July 9 discussion together. This is one of many more discussions to come, starting again at NVC’s Convocation on Aug. 21. I hope to see you there with me!

We are looking for people who will help NVC reach that antiracist goal. It’s not going to be pretty, but I’m willing to do the work if it takes us another 25 years to understand what antiracist truly means. If you would like to join me and other colleagues in this work, please email your NVC Faculty Senate or NVC Staff Senate – which are groups on campus that advocate for you.

I encourage you to join me in speaking out to Stop the Silence.

If you would like to share your own reflections and ideas anonymously, please follow the survey link.


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