District responds to VA violence

Following the “Unite the Right” rally on the University of Virginia campus Aug. 12, the Chancellor and Presidents from all three of the CCCD college’s sent out a district wide email to students, staff and faculty Aug. 15 and 16, extending their condolences to the victims who lost their lives and voicing their disapproval of the events that transpired in Charlottesville.

“While the First Amendment grants the right to free speech and peaceable assembly, acts of violence and abhorrent behaviors are neither included nor protected under this amendment. We strongly condemn any and all racist acts intended to incite violence and promote fear,” the email noted.

They further stated that as an institute, each college is committed to respecting and promoting diversity, inclusion, social justice and offering learning environments that are safe for students and employees to “engage peacefully and civilly,” — not tolerating hatred, racism or any acts of violence.

“We encourage our students, staff, faculty, and community to join us as we combat injustice, bigotry, and divisiveness by actively listening to one another, demonstrating respect for others, and engaging in a civil manner at all times.”

Los Medanos College Student Life followed suit by hosting “A Place to Talk” Tuesday, Aug. 22. Director of Student Life, Teresa Archaga explained that this was important for students to discuss feelings in an open and safe setting.

“[The LMC Community] was feeling like it was time to come together to talk about how they were feeling,” said Archaga. “This gives students a safe place to voice their opinions.”

Although “A Place to Talk” sets-up a safe space for students to have these discussions, they are also voicing their opinions about the issues at hand outside of settings like such.

Student Armando Serverino explained how surprising it is that white-nationalists rallies are still happening in 2017.

“I feel like if you support things like that, you shouldn’t put it out there because it just causes more problems,” said Severino, adding that rallies like the ones in Charlottesville just cause more chaos and that people are always going to want more regardless of it what they want goes away.

He also explained that the district wide email is important because it shows students that they support.

Courtney Samuda echoed similar sentiments, explaining that it is important for students have that respect and safety not only at LMC, but also throughout the district.

“It was definitely a mix of frustration, anger and confusion — especially when you grow up in places like the Bay Area where there’s a lot of diversity,” said Samuda in regards to her initial reaction about the rallies in Charlottesville. “I never had to grow up in a place where I didn’t feel accepted and it’s sad knowing that there are people who have always been in environments like that where they are made to feel uncomfortable for being who they are.”