- Transgender Day of Remembrance (11/21/2022)
- A Reflection on Anti-Asian Hate (03/29/2022)
- Open Letter of Support for Our Trans Community (03/08/2022)
- A Message from Trumanue Lindsey, Jr.: Amir Locke (02/07/2022)
- Kim Potter Trial Verdict: A Message from Trumanue Lindsey (12/23/2021)
May 6, 2021
Nearly 12 months ago, George Floyd joined a long line of African Americans killed during encounters with police. He is not the first to become a rallying cry for demonstrations, a flash point in conversations about race and policing, a story that Black parents dread telling their children. But his is the death that has prompted the country’s most intense reckoning in decades, one affecting nearly every U.S. institution. That is certain to continue now that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — who knelt on Floyd’s neck until he no longer could breathe — has been found guilty of murder. After the verdict was rendered, crowds erupted in joy, perhaps sharing a feeling that finally, this one … “didn’t get away.”
Like many of you, I share the sense of relief that a just verdict was delivered and I hold hope for the significance of an equally just sentencing. Yet emotions remain mixed. The verdict does not change the horrific way Mr. Floyd was killed. Nor does it change the fact that there have been — and continue to be —countless other people of color who are mistreated or have been killed by law enforcement officials who feel they are untouchable and above the law themselves. This verdict brings hope that like crimes will be adjudicated similarly and police officers will be held accountable when their power is abused. As investigations unfold, hope must continue for answers on behalf of Daunte Wright, and the countless others who met death prematurely by law enforcement.
This verdict informs and demands all of us to make good on the movement sparked last May in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s murder. What are we going to do going forward to make as big of an impact as possible toward our commitment to equity and inclusion? What are the seeds of hope that will continue this movement?
It starts with respect. Respect of those whose lived experiences are different from our own. It is a time to understand the cultural history of Black, Indigenous and People of Color and the effect that history has had on the growth and maturity of these individuals and groups. Understanding the history of discrimination and continued disrespect and ill-treatment of Black, Indigenous and People of Color is necessary to make forward progress.
- Our movement begins with a strong educational basis. We must be able to be welcoming, sensitive to individuals’ experiences, and provide the necessary support to ensure success.
- Our movement begins with understanding differences. And respecting those differences.
- Our movement begins with us acknowledging our biases and embracing a willingness to do something about them.
- Our movement begins collaboratively – with all of us working together to ensure that those who are underserved, underrepresented and disenfranchised find a safe and secure place to learn, maintain their individuality and ultimately succeed.
- Our movement begins with us practicing anti-racism and embedding that framework in our policies and processes. We must continue the hard conversations on race and support actions and policies that move us toward being an anti-racist college.
- Our movement begins with us ensuring our workforce reflects our student body.
- Our movement begins with us not accepting racism, discrimination and disrespect.
- Our movement begins with our connection to the community - listening and responding in critical ways.
- Our movement begins with engaging our local corporations and businesses, and providing a workforce that reflects equity, inclusiveness, and has the competencies necessary for career and personal growth.
- Our movement begins with being socially active, both individually and as a college. As the late representative from Georgia and civil rights activist, John Lewis, stated “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”
- Our movement begins and never ends. We cannot stop making life better for those who are so desperately in need of help . . . of hope. As former President Obama remarked, “Hope is the thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.”
At Minneapolis College, we commit ourselves to the success of our students and the communities we serve.
May our movement bring a brighter tomorrow, through these seeds of hope.
When I began preparing these remarks, I thought about what it was I hoped to convey in a few short sentences. Seeking words that truly reflect the impact of the murder of George Floyd on us as individuals and as a community…words that acknowledge pain, words of comfort, hope and renewal. I cast about for some profound quote from some great thinker, humanitarian or literary author whose words capture this moment. Nothing served, and it occurred to me to simply speak my truth.
The truth is that as an African American woman, I'm tired and I need renewal just like you. You look to me to lead. I look to you for inspiration, and you do not disappoint. I am inspired by each of you. Today I ask you to stand boldly in this place, and to stand beside me as we work together to dismantle structural racism in all its forms. Beginning at home, here at Minneapolis College.
I ask you to plant your feet here and proclaim this is where we make our stand together. And I ask you to take these seeds of hope and plant them in a place of special meaning to you. That you care for them, water and nurture them. That you care for yourselves and each other, so that together we can more fully realize the transformative mission of Minneapolis College.
Thank you for your presence, for inspiration, and for our shared aspirations.
Cultivating Seeds of Hope
Gather: to cause to come together in one place or group; to assemble gradually from various locations and sources; to bring close; to prepare to collect (oneself, one’s energies) to meet a situation; harvest.
“I would say that other-preservation is the first law of life. It is the first law of life precisely because we cannot preserve self without being concerned about preserving other selves. The universe is so structured that things go awry if people are not diligent in their cultivation of the other-regarding dimension. ‘I’ cannot reach fulfillment without ‘thou.’ The self cannot be self without other selves. Self-concern without other-concern is like a tributary that has no outward flow to the ocean. Stagnant, still and stale, it lacks both life and freshness.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Explore. Soul Search. Commit to Act.
Chicago Avenue and Thirty-Eighth Street (For Justice)
- While journeying to the location, ask yourself—what is the meaning of justice, and how are its causes advanced in my family or personal life?
- Upon arrival to the site, breathe in the experience of this location (for 9 minutes and 29 seconds), while asking yourself—how is my view of justice transformed by the solemnity of this place?
- After departure from the landmark, ask yourself—what concrete steps will I take to increase fairness of treatment and racial healing?
East Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue (For Change)
- While journeying to the location, ask yourself—what difference can people power make in rebuilding the storefront passageway between west river and that theater on lagoon?
- Upon arrival to the site, breathe in the experience of this location (for 9 minutes and 29 seconds), while asking yourself—how is my view of fruitful transformation colored by memories, disappearance, and remnants of this place?
- After departure from the landmark, ask yourself—what concrete steps will I take to alter neglected geographies and renew confidence in the collaborative work of civic engagement?
4600 Columbus Avenue and East Forty-Sixth Street (For Equity)
- While journeying to the location, ask yourself—what is the meaning of equity in distinction to equality, and why might treating everyone the same produce an unfair outcome?
- Upon arrival to the site, breathe in the experience of this location (for 9 minutes and 29 seconds), while asking yourself—how is my view of fair housing practices transformed by the history of mob violence and courageous protest that endures in this place?
- After departure from the landmark, ask yourself—what concrete steps will I take to dismantle systems that perpetuate inequitable living environments and obstruct families like Arthur, Edith, and Mary Lee from the right to establish a home?
Hennepin Avenue between Lake and Thirty-First Street (For Hope)
- While journeying to the location, ask yourself—what is my daydream for a tomorrow united by our collective diversity, and what are causes to hope the reality of my vision for the future?
- Upon arrival to the site, breathe in the experience of this location (for 9 minutes and 29 seconds), while asking yourself—how is my view of the future transformed by the beauty and story of (re)naming this place, Bde Maka Ska?
- After departure from the landmark, ask yourself—what concrete steps will I take to build bridges or relations of trust that hasten the dawn of our more perfect union with sacred lands and beloved kinfolk?
Justice • Change • Equity • Hope
For additional information about Minneapolis College’s commitment to equity, visit the Equity webpage.
Out from the Shadows of Minneapolis: Power, Pride, and Perseverance at a Northern Community College collects the stories written by Minneapolis College students, faculty, staff and administrators who represent communities often unrepresented in the stories that are told about Minneapolis.
The full text can be downloaded on Opendora from Minnesota State.
Dear Minneapolis College Campus Community,
The outpouring of grief and anger over the tragic deaths earlier this year of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among others, highlights a longstanding pattern of unjust deaths of Black citizens, along with many systemic, racist injustices that impact African Americans, Indigenous Peoples, Latinx, Asian Americans and other populations that are underrepresented in higher education and at Minneapolis College. As a nation, we can — and must — do better. We recognize that Minneapolis College is not immune to the kind of racist systems and behaviors that perpetuate institutional racism. Historically, this has created barriers and persistent disparities on campus and caused pain for our Black students, alumni, faculty and staff. As a College community, we can — and must — do better.
As the administrative leaders of the institution, the President’s Council and I understand that each and every one of us shares in the responsibility to enact meaningful, action-oriented change at our College. To create an anti-racist college of authentic inclusivity that is full of opportunity for all, we are committed on our campus to working for justice and human rights and doing what will improve the diversity, equity and inclusivity of Minneapolis College. We are called to embrace human diversity, communicate with respect and to understand, disrupt and dismantle systemic racism.
Recently, I promised to provide an update for you regarding what we are currently doing and where we anticipate going. Some initiatives will come to fruition quickly and others will require deeper conversations and more time, but we stand for justice and are committed to doing our part to enact progress and tangible change. Under the leadership of Interim College Diversity Officer, Patrick Troup, the Equity and Inclusion (E&I) Division continues its focus on providing learning opportunities and professional development for our campus community to increase our knowledge and build our skills to be anti-racist. These are action-oriented opportunities for colleagues to talk about race and learn, collectively, how to be actively antiracist.
- The Professional Learning Series was launched last month with a session on How to Talk about Race. The second session was on Antiracism in Action and the third was on The Power of Diversity.
- Four feedback sessions were hosted for staff and faculty to share their voice on what it means to be antiracist. The results will be shared in an upcoming Connect Announcement.
- Culturally Relevant Advising Training will have its first offerings this month (November).
- Skill building continues with the launch of the President’s Book Club on Ibram X. Kendi’s book How To Be An Antiracist. We had our first discussion on October 30, however there is still time to sign up.
- The next IDI Meet Up will focus on Cultural Appropriation.
- The Examining Whiteness Learning Circle is hosting several sessions this year. The focus is on increasing individual awareness, knowledge and skills to work toward becoming an anti-racist community.
- Living Room Conversations continue offering our community opportunities and a place to express their views and learn from others on a variety of key topics.
- The Culturally Responsive Inclusive Trainers Corps grant is providing funding to hire two student alumni as contractors.
- The Community Healing Collaborative continues to support multiple efforts to guide practices that transform our institution toward healing racial justice.
In addition to the work being led by our E&I Division, the college has an Equity by Design team working in concert with the Minnesota State Office of Equity and Inclusion that will assist us in moving beyond policy and planning to institutional equity-minded practices. This short list is not exhaustive. Many colleagues are working on other projects across the System, serving as thought leaders who bring their experiences and expertise to lead courageous conversations. Valuable work is occurring in classrooms, courses, meetings and departments in support of our efforts to become an antiracist institution.
- The Library (with leadership from John Daniels and contributions from Amanda Mills and other library faculty) has created an anti-racism LibGuide (library guide). This easy-to-use reference resource creates a simple way for the Minneapolis College community to find and access books, articles and other works related to anti-racism.
- Faculty-led professional development offerings include the Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Institute (led by Lisa Bergin) and a teaching circle (facilitated by Kleber Ortiz) for faculty who have previously participated in the CRP Institute or the Anti-Racist Pedagogy Across the Curriculum program.
- Faculty from across the College continue to revise courses and programs to make them more responsive to our diverse student population. In some cases, instructors have devoted their entire sabbatical to this important work.
In thinking through our collective challenge, I find it helpful to conceptualize our journey and efforts thematically.
- Strategic Plan. Our plan has two main foci: eliminating achievement gaps and improving student outcomes.
- Becoming a healing institution for our students and ourselves. We recognize our students arrive having experienced trauma. We also recognize that, unfortunately, sometimes our College is the source of trauma or serves as a contributing factor. We have made some progress toward being trauma informed. Student Affairs has taken a leadership role in incorporating healing practices toward racial justice. In the Employee Engagement Survey, staff sited psychological safety as a primary concern. Just like our students, employee may arrive having experienced trauma. We also recognize that, unfortunately, sometimes our College is the source of trauma or serves as a contributing factor for employees as well as students. We must extend the efforts toward being a healing institution beyond Student Affairs to our entire campus community. Fortunately, we have received grant funding to help us to lean into this work.
- Policy, procedures and practices. Our review of each policy and procedure incorporates an equity lens. Selecting vendors and external contractors will also incorporate an equity lens. Minneapolis College is participating in the Minnesota State procurement pilot designed to increase supplier diversity through contracts with additional minority- and women-owned businesses.
- Employee Diversity. Minneapolis College has made significant progress in diversifying staff. We must continue our efforts to recruit and retain diverse faculty.
- Equity and Inclusion. The work guided by and led by our E&I division, Equity by Design team, CLC and professional development opportunities.
As you can see there is a great deal going on and a great deal left to be done. This is just the beginning. On behalf of the President’s Council, I can assure you we are committed to working with you, our faculty, staff, students and alumni, to take concrete actions that will mark Minneapolis College as an anti-racist institution, enhance the quality of our educational environment for all students, enhance the quality of life for Black and marginalized populations and, in doing so, enhance the quality of life for ourselves and the broader community as well.
For ongoing updates about this important work as it continues, please visit our Equity page at minneapolis.edu. Thank you for joining me in supporting these efforts in whatever manner you are able.
The college has received a few emails from community members seeking information and/or clarification regarding the nature of our relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.
This is the college’s response to all inquiries:
Minneapolis College Administration is acutely aware of the public perceptions around the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd. As part of our commitment to closing equity gaps in education and supporting efforts to bridge racial divides across the community, we advocate fully for law enforcement officers to uphold a standard of care that demonstrates value for the lives of all of those they serve.
Unlike the Minneapolis public school district, Minneapolis College does not have any formal agreements with the Minneapolis Police Department. They are, however, the law enforcement agency upon which we rely for responding to 911 calls and other public safety matters on our campus. In addition, our campus has relied on off-duty police officers to provide supplemental security during our large events that require coverage beyond our Public Safety Department’s capacity. The individual police officers we have contracted with in the past have been selected based on their high level of cultural fluency and familiarity with our campus’ culture. At this time, Minneapolis College will not continue to contract with individuals from the Minneapolis Police Department for event coverage.
Our campus is fortunate to have a highly trained and culturally fluent Public Safety Department that provides coverage on our campus during all open hours. The staff in this department have done an outstanding job becoming a known, positive presence on campus by regularly connecting with students, employees and visitors. Their proactive interactions and responsiveness have created a sense of safety on our urban campus. In addition, the officers’ commitment to using de-escalation techniques has been extremely effective when situations arise that require their direct involvement.
To continue advocating for the ideals of our Mission and Equity Statement, Public Safety Director Curt Schmidt will continue his role as an advisor on the Police Chief’s Citizen Advisory Council. Through this role, he will ensure the voices of our campus are heard as their agency considers needed changes.
Sharon J. Pierce, Ed.D.
Minneapolis College's Equity Statement - A Time to Unite
Dear Minneapolis College,
I hope this week has allowed you the opportunity to resume your personal and professional lives in a less chaotic way than the recent weeks and, now, months have granted us. I also hope you have given yourself permission, as needed, to take care of yourself, your loved ones and to adopt realistic expectations for yourself and others as we persevere together through these remarkably challenging days.
I want to recognize that, despite a global pandemic and unrest in our community of epic proportion, our Minneapolis College community has managed to continue moving forward. We are upholding the institution’s hard-earned reputation of resilience that began in 1914 when founder Elizabeth Fish broke through multiple barriers to create innovative solutions to serve the needs of this community.
Now, we are here together in this moment in time to leave our legacy on the history of the institution and the broader community. Every student and employee is woven into the beautiful and complicated tapestry that portrays Minneapolis College and will contribute, however we each are able, to the ongoing mission of this institution to providing transformational educational experiences to help elevate the socio-economic status of our community, family, friends and neighbors.
I believe this work begins by proclaiming our commitment to equity and inclusion across every aspect of our campus community. Please take a moment to read the Equity Statement we’re publishing through multiple genres to clearly and publicly reaffirm our intentions and our promise to change today’s world so that tomorrow’s world can become a place of equality and justice. I ask that you look for reflections of yourself in this statement and contemplate how you can contribute to the work that must be done to remove barriers.
As we work together to allow the tenants of this statement to permeate all we do, we will reduce the racial divide experienced across our city and, in turn, across the state and the nation. We won’t forget the pain we have endured but, rather, we will use it to guide the changes that are needed.
Please join me in embracing this statement and creating ways for it to forge our path ahead. Specific opportunities for you to engage will be shared soon. I hope you will consider how you can participate and add to the ongoing creation of our community’s tapestry.
If you participated in a recent protest, vigil, or other neighborhood event, I encourage you to follow Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines to be tested for COVID-19. MDH’s recommendation includes those who participated in these large group events and who do not have symptoms as they can still spread the virus to others. Visit MDH or call 1-800-657-3903 for testing sites.
Thank you for being a part of the Minneapolis College community.
Sharon J. Pierce
Safety and Well-being of our Campus Community
As we grapple with the tragic death of George Floyd and the resulting unrest, I am concerned about the safety and wellbeing of our campus community. The President’s Council took action this morning to close the campus at 3 p.m. today and it will remain closed through the weekend. The few employees who were still working on campus and impacted by this decision have been notified.
In addition, I recognize some in our community are experiencing other disruptions to our ability to function effectively due to this situation. Students and employees may have difficulty concentrating. Some Minneapolis residents are experiencing interruptions in their electricity and may not be able to work online. Access to transportation in and around the city is being impacted. And, there is a wide range of emotions being experienced as we react to this unfolding and disturbing situation.
Please do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and make decisions that preserve your own physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Counseling services are available at no charge to all Minneapolis College students at the Student Support Center and through the Boynton Health Clinic. Employees may reach out to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 651-259-3840 or 1-800-657-3719 for support.
If there is one thing I know about our campus community it is that we are resilient. Difficult situations are not foreign to us and we will persevere. Please take care and know that I am thinking about each of you as we, once again, must rely on our grit and self-care practices to endure this.
Sharon J. Pierce, Ed.D. | President
Office of the President | K.2100
A Message to the MCTC Community Regarding George Floyd
Dear Minneapolis College Community:
You may have heard the news reports or witnessed the video depicting the moments before the tragic death of George Floyd yesterday. I understand many of you may be deeply disturbed and grieving for the victim and his family. The graphic nature of the video may only intensify feelings of rage, despair, fear, helplessness, and depression that are a common response to these too frequently experienced incidents.
In the wake of Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, Eric Gardner, and hundreds of other police slayings of African Americans, despair, outrage, and exhaustion are understandable. These incidents reflect the health of our state and nation, and we do not have the luxury for disbelief or inaction, it touches us all. These are our sons, brothers, fathers, community members, and friends being killed in the streets of Minneapolis, Baltimore, New York, Ferguson, and Falcon Heights.
My heartfelt condolences go out to Mr. Floyd, his family, and his friends. The voices of our campus community echo the multitude of political calls for justice and equity in Minnesota and across the country. Many of you come from communities in which trust and faith in our civil agencies is fractured. I recognize that, for many of you, such incidents bring on fears for the safety of yourselves and your family members and friends.
With the summer semester having just begun today, I understand that some students may feel the need to process recent events before returning to their studies. Angst may distract even the hardest employees from their tasks. Supporting student success is at the heart of how Minneapolis College must function and, in times of social turmoil, students and employees may need validation of how they experience this news. Supporting each other means allowing safe and open expression.
Assistance in dealing with the emotions triggered by this incident is available at no charge. Minneapolis College students can receive counseling services through the Student Support Center and through the Boynton Health Clinic. Employees may reach out to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 651-259-3840 or 1-800-657-3719 for support.
Thank you for your compassion for fellow students, staff and faculty members that make the Minneapolis College community.
In peace and justice,
Vice President of Student Affairs
Interim College Diversity Officer
May 28, 2020
I am writing in the wake of the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, and the resulting unrest in Minneapolis. The video capturing the horrific moments prior to his death and those police officers’ utter lack of regard for his life has sent shock-waves of sadness and fear through our campus community.
While the video and the news reports are not able to show what happened leading up to the time Mr. Floyd was detained, it does make painfully clear how some law enforcement officers seem all too eager to use force unnecessarily on our neighbors, friends and family members of color.
This tragedy shines a spotlight on a mere sliver of the racial disparities that are experienced across our community. Now under that spotlight, it is no longer invisible and commands action. This is our moment, as a community, to face the ugliness of such racial inequities and take a thoughtful and intentional approach to supporting change.
I applaud the prompt actions and statements to address the unacceptable brutality used by the officers involved in this incident. I stand in solidarity with the peaceful demonstrators seeking to focus the world’s attention on the trauma of systemic racism and condemn all acts of violence. With the world watching to see what happens next in our city, this is our time, Minneapolis, to boldly and firmly state violence perpetrated against one individual is violence perpetrated against us all and this is not acceptable.
For colleges, businesses, communities of faith and other vital elements of our community to thrive, we must be willing to make difficult decisions for the greater good. Together, we can reflect, heal and work in unison to reduce the racial divide experienced across our city and, in turn, across the state and the nation.
Since 1914, Minneapolis College has endured many challenges. Despite these challenges, we will continue providing high quality, affordable and transformational educational pathways to help elevate the socioeconomic status of our community, family, friends and neighbors. We remain devoted to our mission and to our belief that equity remedies personal and systemic disadvantages, removes barriers to inclusion and helps achieve just outcomes. Inclusion is created through a climate of belonging and meaningful participation. It results from equitable and culturally responsive policies and practices that generate trust and are foundational to our community’s well-being.
Through our students, staff and faculty, and as an anchor in the broader community, we are fully engaged and committed to eliminating disparities and to shaping the landscape of the region’s future. There is no destination point; this work is ongoing. We call upon all the citizens of Minneapolis to join us on our journey toward equity.
Sharon J. Pierce, Ed.D.
As you may know, the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is scheduled to begin with jury selections March 8. College Administration is closely following the case to ensure safety measures are put into place to protect students, staff and faculty who are on campus.
The trial will be held in Hennepin County District Court in downtown Minneapolis. Another significant date will be March 29 when opening statements are scheduled to be heard. The trial is expected to continue through May. Our Public Safety Department is working with the city, county, state and several other partners to prepare for potential unrest during the trial. According to city officials, trial-related activities may impact the ability to navigate and engage with downtown businesses and neighborhoods. Public transit is expected to operate normally at this point. If transit operations are interrupted, we will be flexible with those who use this type of transportation to get to campus.
Additional information about the trial is available at these websites:
We are also monitoring technology systems at an elevated level based on an awareness that hackers tend to leverage social discord in planning their attacks. In the coming weeks, we will continue to evaluate actions needed to ensure safety on our campus and across our technology network.
I realize the issues raised by this trial may elicit emotional responses across our campus community. Students and employees may have difficulty concentrating or may need time to process the situation as it unfolds. Please take care of yourself and consider your own physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Counseling services are available at no charge to all Minneapolis College students at the Student Support Center and through the Boynton Health Clinic.
Employees may reach out to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 651-259-3840 or 1-800-657-3719 for support. Please watch for information on the Equity & Inclusion Division events being planned to support our campus community through the coming months. A virtual event Remembering, Recentering and Reimagining: Justice for George Floyd will be held on the first day of Spring Break, March 8, from 2 until 3 pm to provide an opportunity to share feelings surrounding the trial and reflect on and reimagine justice. Click to register to attend using passcode 189095.
As a united community, we will remain supportive of one another through these and future challenges. While maintaining campus safety, we will also help preserve and protect the right to holding lawful first amendment, non-violent protests and demonstrations.
Thank you for your compassion for fellow students, staff and faculty members that make up the Minneapolis College community.