June 4, 2020

A Message to the YVC Family

With a heavy heart, I reach out to our students, faculty and staff, concerning the recent and tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. Mr. George’s death was preceded by the untimely and violent death of other African Americans, including Mr. Ahmaud Arbery and Ms. Breonna Taylor. These are not isolated events. Instead, they are recent manifestations of the systemic racism that has been part of the history and the fabric of our nation since its founding.

To our students, employees and community members who are African American, I cannot claim to know what you are feeling. But know that we see you, we honor your feelings, and we are here for you.

I wish to express solidarity with all who are outraged by the inhumane and unjust treatment of fellow human beings. Like the devastation caused by violence against Native American women in the Yakima Valley and elsewhere, these events remind us that true equality, freedom and social justice are in constant conflict with bigotry and hatred. In regard to the COVID19 pandemic, we have heard the phrase, “we’re all in this together”. But in fact people of color are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, while bigotry and hatred appear to influence public demonstrations calling for the suspension of public health measures.

Beyond the need to acknowledge and honor our anger and our fears, we must recommit ourselves to helping to build a more just world. If we are truly in this together, we must be steadfast in our resolve to end violence, bigotry, and persecution based on race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. To that end, Yakima Valley College has formed an Equity Team, focused on such priorities as the pursuit of equitable student outcomes and equity in hiring.

Students or employees are welcome to reach out to the Counseling and Advising Office, the Associated Students of YVC, or the Office of the President to express concerns or to seek support. We are here for you.

Dr. Linda Kaminski, President
Yakima Valley College