It's hard to believe it is already Friday; this week has certainly been chaotic. While dealing with the challenges of a pandemic that may be entering a second wave soon, we've all had to process a great deal of emotion over the death of George Floyd and anger over the ongoing injustice against the Black community. As I said earlier this week, our mission to serve California can never fully come to fruition if Black Americans and other historically victimized groups continue to suffer hatred and bias. Easy enough to say, but what does that mean going forward?
This week, the most important action was to quickly make it clear where we stood on the situation and offer emotional support to our colleagues and communities of color. Let me be clear: Black Lives Matter. It's hard to know if our messages were the best they could be, but they were offered with sincerity and the hope of stimulating productive discussions. Those discussions are critical to next steps; we have to think and learn and then identify where and how we can enhance our programs and policies to build that healthy, peaceful and prosperous California for all.
I'm not sure what those next steps will encompass, but I am sure that, working together, we can design actions that will help us achieve that goal. As we work toward that, I ask all of you to be open to new ideas and have patience with each other. We are all flawed human beings that are doing the best we can while dealing with a pandemic, an uncertain economy, sheltering-in-place and all the other upheaval that has been thrown at everyone this past few months.
One action that I would like to offer right now is to read this very thoughtful article and one of the best explanations of "white privilege" I've seen. These easy-to-understand, everyday examples are shared with compassion despite the hurt they caused; every white person needs to read this. If your reaction to that is to say, "I don't need to read this because I'm not a racist," then you are probably one of the people that need to read it the most.
In June, every Wednesday at 6 p.m., you are invited to join UC ANR colleagues to view films about LGBTQ+ communities and participate in discussions after the shows from the comfort of wherever you are sheltering in place. The length of each session will vary with the length of the film. Register for the ANR Pride Film Fest at http://ucanr.edu/pride2020 to get the Zoom link.
Before I close, I'm sure many of you have been following our budget situation and actions taken by the state legislature. At this time, we don't know for sure how large of a cut we may be facing, but are preparing for various scenarios. We'll share more detail on that next week. I can commit to you that any actions taken on the budget will prioritize our people. You – our academics, programmatic staff and the support staff that enable them all to be successful – are our most important infrastructure. Without you, the mission cannot be delivered!
In closing, the last action I'll suggest for this week is for you to please take care of yourself. Sleep in this weekend, get out into the sun, spend some quality time (Zoom or in person) with family and friends. Take part (safely) in a protest of some sort or find another way to support our Black community.
Best wishes and warm regards to all,