A Message from the Director, Rob Delaleu


Dear Bristol Community, 

As the summer of 2020 approaches, we are amid strange times. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, but there is a separate pandemic I would like to speak to you about that is far more insidious. This pandemic has infected our nation for more than 400 years and has claimed innumerous lives. This pandemic is racism.  
 
Just like COVID-19, we cannot always easily determine who the carriers are or who will ultimately be affected. It is unpredictable and can take your breath away. You cannot wash your hands to be rid of it. Those who once wore masks have decided to remove them in exchange for other attire, ignoring the needs of society to fulfill the self.  

No vaccination has been invented that can halt the spread of this disease. Immunity to the consequences of this virus has been reserved for the privileged. We have tried to heal using treatments like kneeling, non-violent social movements, and peaceful protests. Such remedies have not worked as hoped, as many traditionalists have undermined these efforts. All the while, countering us, by supporting alternative movements and ignoring the impassioned protests. We are no closer to finding a cure and this is disheartening to me. So many young men and women of color look to us, their educators, to aid in the treatment, and it bothers me greatly to know we cannot yet offer them the ultimate cure.  
 
We cannot give up; we must prevail. As Director of Multicultural Affairs for the college and as a Black man in America, I do not want incidents like the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, false accusations made by Amy Cooper in New York or the shooting deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Louisville to be desensitized. As leaders, we must take a stand and vow that this will not happen here, on our watch, to our college community. In my time at Bristol, I have had the honor of meeting and collaborating with many of you. This institution is amazing, and we have terrific people working and learning here. President Douglas encourages open conversations about equity and diversity and, through the equity agenda, has already begun making important changes throughout the college. However, there is much room for improvement when working with race and social justice issues at our college. My position was created to be a voice for our students with specific goals targeted at bridging equity gaps for students of color by diminishing barriers that exist for them. I am here as an advocate to provide race and ethnic programming, build leadership outlets and review policies that may present as obstacles for our students.

I am writing today to ask you – Bristol’s faculty, staff and students – to come together and unify against this infectious disease we know as racism and hate. To truly care about all our students and our communities, it is up to every one of us to be part of the cure. Ask yourself, as leaders in higher education, are we creating and implementing enough opportunities to educate our communities inside and outside the classroom, campus, region and the nation as a whole? Can we make a difference in our own community as leaders for social justice?  

The first step in participating is to take a pledge against racism and hate. Please go to the www.Bristolcc.edu website and click on the banner at the top of the page with the Multicultural Student Center link for more details. Also, Like or Follow the Multicultural Student Center’s Facebook (@BristolMSC) and Twitter (@BristolMSC) pages. We will be sharing an ongoing series of social justice events, forums and campaigns to be held throughout the summer and fall semester. The first initiative in the series is an open forum for our college community.  

“A Difficult and Necessary Conversation about the George Floyd Tragedy” to be held this Thursday, June 4, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Register here.   

We would love for you to attend and share information with students and colleagues about upcoming social justice events to your social media networks. As part of this pledge, we also encourage you to fully adopt our college’s equity agenda. We welcome your respected areas to join our department in creating an even safer and more inclusive Bristol for all our students, faculty and staff.  

This is the time to let our Community of Color, especially our African American and Black students, faculty and staff, know that we are a true community college and are always here to protect and serve all!  

Thank you. We hope to see you on Thursday and into the future.  

 

Rob Delaleu 

Director Multicultural Affairs