I wanted to reach out today to extend my prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. George Floyd as they mourn his tragic and senseless death. Like many of you, I found the recently released videos of Mr. Floyd’s death both heartbreaking and deeply disturbing. As a former police officer myself, I have always believed that the police exist to protect and to serve our citizens. Anyone in a position of authority should be held to the highest standards of professional conduct. As President of Independence Community College, I want each of you to know that your campus community is with you wherever you are.
The senseless death of Mr. Floyd last week is another example of the racism and violence we must all work together to end. “I can’t breathe” were the last words of both George Floyd and Eric Garner. No one should die pleading for the right to breathe. Sadly, these deaths continue to follow a history of racial injustice that is far too familiar on our television screens.
The names of these men and women unfortunately go on and on. Too many Black lives are lost to racism and violence. We simply must do better as a country.
I am asking every member of our Pirate family to recommit to speaking out against injustice, ignorance, and racism wherever and whenever you encounter it. As a college, we must all band together and use our collective power to address major societal problems like racial injustice. I want to reiterate Independence Community College is fully committed to providing a safe and inclusive educational experience to all members of our Pirate family.
I know that many of you are hurting and it pains me that we cannot physically be together to grieve at this time. Feelings of anger and grief are only exasperated by the social distancing still needed to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. The emotions you may be experiencing during this difficult time should not be ignored. Please take a moment to check in with yourself and recognize what you are feeling. I encourage you to talk to trusted friends and loved ones about your feelings and your experiences.
If you are a student and you find that you need additional support, please reach out to our Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Vince Bowhay, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be able to help you access teletherapy services to give you a safe space to discuss your feelings. ICC employees have continued access to our Employee Assistance Program and can seek additional resources by contacting our Vice President of Human Resources, Lori Boots, by emailing her at email@example.com.
We must continue to stand together and take care of each other. I am keeping you all in my thoughts – please stay safe.
George C. Knox, Ed.D.
Independence Community College