Photo by Frankie Cordoba
Black Lives Matter
Across the country and in the Central Valley, we are bearing witness to a series of events which are exposing, once again, the institutionalized violence and devaluation of life that this country has leveraged against Black people for hundreds of years. In response, we have witnessed not only vibrant and courageous shows of action in the form of protests and grassroots organizing, but also regrettable truths about racial injustice and anti-blackness that continue to plague all facets of our community - our homes, our schools, our economy, our healthcare, and our safety. These injustices are not new. They exist and have become normalized in American culture through bias, mico-aggressions, and more. They exist in the unjust killing of Black people by law enforcement, and they also exist in the absence of Black voices in higher education and board rooms.
Inclusivity is a paramount value within our organization and we have sought to create a space for all involved with our organization, students, and themtors. However, we recognize that the majority of students currently served by our organization are non-Black Latinx. From our scholarship applications this year, over 84% were Latinx, and less than 3% were black students (see figure 1). We recognize that anti-Blackness exists within our Latinx communities, and this, too, affects our relationships at home and with community members. We also recognize that “inclusivity” is not enough. We - as a community, as non-profit leaders, professionals, and individuals - must do more to break apart racist systems and the privileges afforded by them.
Figure 1 This data was collected from our 2020 first-gen, undocumented, and LGBTQ+ scholarship applications (infographic by Jazmine Solorzano).
In honor and respect of the moment, Central Valley Scholars has made the decision to temporarily halt our webinars and programming in order to allow the community we serve, especially our Black students and community members, to take heed of the moment and respond appropriately, whether that is through collective action, direct monetary support, self-care, or a combination of the above. In addition, Central Valey Scholars has also reserved five job opportunities for Black students in our community (see figure 2) and has funded a $1000 Black student scholarship.
Figure 2 Click here to learn more (infographic made by Jazmine Solorzano).
It is important to note that these opportunities should have been granted beforehand. We as an organization are disappointed in ourselves for not making an active effort to assist Black students in our communities and we will ensure that these opportunities are granted both now and in the future.
Systemic racism in America is a virus that demands action and attention from all of us. We want to be clear that our “pause” is not an abdication of action or a period of meaningless silence - we implore each of our students and supporters to seek out opportunities in their own networks to create long-term change and advance progress for the most vulnerable in our communities.
Here is a list of ways to get involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement:
Sign a Petition
Check out this article for more information.
Central Valley Scholars