Dear Bloomfield College Community,
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd all lost their lives to senseless acts of violence.
As the president of New Jersey's only four-year predominately black institution, I deeply understand what many of our students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni are feeling right now. Before I became the first Black president of Bloomfield College, I was a Black woman and mother living in America. I grew up in the deep south during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, a time when African Americans struggled to gain equality, and end disenfranchisement and racial segregation. Though decades apart, our lives have eerily aligned more than ever recently.
At Bloomfield College we have been working hard to figure out what resources and knowledge we can bring to help in both the midst of a global pandemic and as protests continue in cities across New Jersey and around the country.
Author and activist Toni Morrison said in 1979: "The function of freedom is to free someone else." Bloomfield College's greatest asset is its embodiment of that quote through action. The College's longstanding commitment to inclusive excellence, to providing a proverbial on-ramp to those historically excluded from educational opportunities, has bettered the lives of countless students. However, no one can ignore the fact that the promise of equal opportunity, in education and beyond, cannot be upheld as long as racism exists. Bloomfield College must continue to lead the charge among our collegiate peers in our surrounding communities and state. We are prepared and equipped to do this.
To our students, we need to hear from you. How would you like us to proceed? Though difficult to come together due to continued social distancing, we can host virtual social justice forums, we can hold digital vigils, we can connect with you on social media. I will personally lend my voice and experience to op-eds, and I am sure a lot of our dedicated faculty and staff will do the same. We can bring about change together.
We are here for you - to lift your voices and spirits, and to support your mental health during this trying, emotional time. To the other members of our Bloomfield family, we are here for you as well. All are valued and need to be embraced and heard. Again, everyone's voice matters.
We must stay united and support each other. If any students need emotional and/or mental health assistance, please contact the Bloomfield College Personal Counseling services, they are here to confidentially assist you. If any member of the community needs spiritual support please contact, Reverend Anita Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are Bloomfield College. We hear and feel your pain. We are in this together.