The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at Columbia College denounces racism and oppression of any form.  The recent events of civil injustice around the country remind us that we are facing a continued epidemic of oppression against the Black community and people of color, both through systems and through individuals.

At Columbia College, our mission is to improve lives. How can we improve our lives and the lives of others?

First, we must grieve. As the country toils over the recent tragedies of Ahmaud Aubery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and too many others, we must recognize that this grief affects us all and that our college community embraces the impact felt from this loss.

Second, we must listen compassionately to and elevate the voices of students, alumni, staff and faculty of color. We must continue building a more inclusive place where all feel they belong.

Third, we must learn. Columbia College provides quality education, and we strive for excellence in discourse and discovery. We must move forward in educating ourselves and providing training about the social justice issues that exist in our culture.

Fourth, we must take ownership. We must take ownership of our own unconscious biases so that we do not contribute to destructive practices such as racism, discrimination, prejudice and color-blindness. We must understand how consciously and unconsciously we contribute to these practices personally, professionally, and in our communities.

Fifth, we must collaborate. We must continue to strive to recruit more Black and underrepresented faculty, staff and students. We must continue to support Black and minority-owned businesses and communities. We are proud that Columbia College is a Charter Sponsor of the Inclusive Impact Institute and it was our honor to be the location sponsor for the State of Inclusivity conference last year. We are also proud to have hosted the 3rd Annual Black Expo in February 2020. However, there is much more work to be done on our part to support and develop innovative partnerships in our communities.

The members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee are committed to these areas of action. We will be hosting opportunities for our college community to come together, either virtually or in person, and will continue to add resources to our DE&I website to help our college community navigate these challenging times so we can continue to work on change.

Your Columbia College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is not perfect, but together we strive to improve the lives of our Cougar Family. We cannot do this critical work alone. We need to hear everyone’s voices. We need to hear from you. Please contact us at deicommittee@ccis.edu to share your voice or visit our DE&I website to learn more and get involved.