Morning ACPA Community,

I wish I could have started this post with “Good Morning” but there is little “good” about recent times.

Living during an unprecedented pandemic (for those currently alive) is challenging, we are ALL painfully familiar with the toll this takes on our lives.  Tensions increase, emotional resolve is challenged, relationships stretched, our sense of normalcy thrown out of equilibrium, etc.

In addition to learning to live through a pandemic (which is new for nearly all of us), we are faced with the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the racist incident towards Christian Cooper in Central Park, New York City. These incidents are NOT NEW if you identify as Black and/or a Person of Color.

Ahmaud, Breonna, George, and Tony are not alone; their lives are added to a continually growing list of members of our community in the U.S. who are killed by White people because they are Black.  While some may perceive recent protests as reactions to the incidents from the past week; they are responses to continued aggression and killing of Black bodies going back hundreds and hundreds of years. We continue to live in a world where if you are Black or a Person of Color, you must take your skin color into account for EVERY decision you make – who you talk to or develop a relationship with, which store you can visit without fear of targeting, what to name your child, how people will perceive you when you wear a mask because of COVID, and the list goes on and on and on. This history is something Black people have to live through and survive every day.

As an educator, I have the responsibility for taking leadership in dismantling racism and aggressively move us towards justice for all people regardless of their identities.  As a member of the ACPA Governing Board, I am responsible for leading this work in our association and supporting all members so they have a voice in the organization AND see themselves in accessing its resources, programs, and services.

As we each have a role in this fight for equity and inclusion, I am committing to my brothers and sisters of color that I will be better:

  • I will work to check myself so you don’t have to
  • I will include as many voices as possible when making decisions whenever possible
  • I will deliberately work to dismantle racism and colonizing structures
  • I will solicit feedback from peers and colleagues to verify I am doing these things

I say these action items understanding most of my identities as a White heterosexual male offer me power and privileges I have not earned; but require me to make the world a better place, grounded in love, equity, and inclusion. I ask that every reader of this entry please consider how you can make a difference and put that strategy into action.

My heart goes out to the friends and families of Ahmaud, Breonna, George, and Tony; and to all our students, staff, and faculty across the world who identify as Black or Persons of Color.  We have to do better and I am hopeful you will join me in taking action.

In love,

Dean Kennedy, Ph.D. (Pronouns: He/Him/His)
Director for Professional Development, ACPA Governing Board
Executive Director of Residential Life, Housing, and Dining Services, University of Nevada Reno

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