From the Dean

June 9, 2020
June 2020
Dear Arts & Letters Community:
Our June Newsletter would normally focus on celebrating our graduating students and feature pictures of commencement. Commencement, as you probably know by now, is postponed due to Covid-19. But we need to break from tradition for another important reason: to acknowledge the now worldwide uprisings against systemic racism in the US and beyond. Being a federally designated “minority-serving institution” (MSI), Cal State LA is perhaps more aware than other institutions may be of the issues that confront Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in everyday life. But that awareness doesn’t mean there isn’t still a lot of work to do. As the Dean of the College of Arts & Letters, I am committed to the work of anti-racism in our public programming, curricula, and hiring practices and to acting on that commitment. Our College has put forth three strategic priorities. Alongside “Pathways to Student Success” and “Community and Culture Connections,” we promote “Voices for Social Justice.” It is in that strategic context that we highlight in the following newsletter the work of our students whose voices for social justice are being amplified on social media, on the streets of Los Angeles, and on campus. (Please note that some of the images created by our students and alumni may include graphic content.)
On June 6, I attended a peaceful protest organized by the Black Student Union and the Associated Students Inc, the official Cal State LA student government. The gathering convened at King Hall, named in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work for social justice. After some speeches and a march around campus, the group re-convened for 8:26 minutes of silence in recognition of the murder of George Floyd. The picture above articulates clearly the reason we had convened: “This is a Revolt Against Racism.”
I congratulate all of our Class of 2020 and remind them, as I did in my graduation video that you are entering into a changed world, and through your voice, YOU CAN LEAD THAT CHANGE!
Stay well, and SOAR!
Sending Love and Light,
Linda Essig
Dr. Linda Essig, Dean
View Issue 19 Here