Statement from President McCurdy on the Death of George Floyd

  • Dear BCCC Faculty, Staff and Students:

    As we reflect on the events of the past week and the emotions felt, I share in the collective outrage and deep sadness regarding the recent killing of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd in Minneapolis. This senseless murder, like many others at the hands of some law enforcement officers, represents a disturbing aspect of our nation’s history of institutional and systemic racism. Many of us are overwhelmed and without words to fully capture the justice that must be served, which will need to come before peace can prevail.

    Now in full view of the world, what shape, form and reality will evolve from this historical turning point? The Minneapolis Police Department and many other law enforcement agencies around the country, continue to be plagued by racial profiling, excessive force and discriminatory practices levied primarily against brown and black citizens. It is an undeniable truth that the video of Mr. Floyd’s murder and subsequent protests have had a profound effect globally and locally, and certainly on each of us at BCCC. These blatant acts continue to give rise to fear within communities of color; the resulting massive protests target the core of the unrest - systemic racism, poverty and exclusion.

    While we cannot control the larger world events around us, I can say with all certainty Baltimore City Community College is committed to honoring and respecting the human rights of every student, faculty and staff member.  One of our core values - respect, is “showing genuine concern and regard for the dignity of others while practicing civility, accepting, appreciating, and supporting individual differences.” I want to affirm our College and my administration stands for social justice and equality for all people regardless of race, nationality, age or sexual identity. 

    In the coming days and weeks, we will likely see more facts unfold around this deadly incident. One of the pillars and foundation of our nation is the right to peaceful assembly and protest.  If you feel the pull to respond by participating in protests or other forms of advocacy, please remember the importance of exercising your freedom of expression, with a strong voice, through peaceful assembly.  My cabinet is committed to working with employees and students to support those engaging the community and exercising civic activism.

    These are unprecedented times, from the continued spread of the coronavirus to the senseless profiling of brown and black people.  Just five years ago, the College was in the heart of the unrest and protests related to the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man from West Baltimore who lost his life while in police custody.  BCCC has always been primed to assume a greater role to disrupt the cycle of poverty and racism in our community.  While the College has hosted the Baltimore Police Department and the Department of Justice and held legislative town hall meetings, there is much more we must and will do.  Be assured that our doors are closed to any form of injustice.

    If you feel the need to talk with someone or simply to express your feelings, students can reach out to the Student Support and Wellness Center at 410-462-8388 and faculty and staff can utilize the BCCC EAP. As well, I ask that we all commit to lean more toward each other to share points of view and resolve differences, which pale in comparison to our deeper moral and civic calling.  Together, we can withstand anything and can help to break the cycle of social injustice, inequity and violence. We cannot fail the generations who came before us and those who come behind us, expecting that we carved new pathways, bridged the divide and deepened the footprints for equity. We are an amazing College and community!  BCCC will continue to be a place of open acceptance where we value individual differences and basic human kindness.

    Stay peaceful, stay safe, and stay BCCC Strong!

    Debra L. McCurdy, PhD