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Statement on George Floyd

Horror and rage. These are the words that best describe what I felt as I watched Mr. George Floyd being held on the ground in handcuffs by three, white, Minneapolis police officers, while one of them forced his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck until he succumbed.

Today, I grieve for Mr. Floyd, his family, and the countless other Black families who have suffered because of the brutal and inhumane treatment often sanctioned by American legal institutions during the past 400 years. I too feel the despair felt by so many Angelenos, many of whom are again expressing their rage and sorrow at the insidiousness of racial injustice in America.

But like my colleagues in the College of Ethnic Studies, we refuse to give in to despair. Our histories have proven that we are resilient people, and we will stand together as we re-double our efforts to help educate and prepare new generations of students to dismantle systemic anti-Blackness and other systems of oppression in our society.

Over 50 years ago, high school students and community activists served as a catalyst for Cal State LA faculty, students, and staff to insist on the creation of ethnic studies programs and more support services for Black, Chicano/a, and Asian American students. Those initial and subsequent struggles did not go in vain, but instead led to the establishment of this new College of Ethnic Studies.

Today, our faculty, students, and staff stand ready to help create a new and just future for all the communities that make up the City of Los Angeles and beyond. We invite you to join us.

Octavio Villalpando
Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion