A Community Message: Black Lives Still Matter


Office of the Senior Cabinet

September 1, 2020

Dear all,

We hope you are doing well amid the constant and unfamiliar challenges we are all facing. We write to you today to stand in solidarity with the demonstrations and protests occurring across our nation in response to the unjust violence experienced by Jacob Blake at the hands of law enforcement officers.

At Valley Scholars College Initiative, we strive in all of our work to examine the inequities that exist in our communities and take steps to develop solutions, no matter how small. Our mission and values are founded on the ideals of equity, inclusion, and progress towards a better future for all those that are overlooked or unincluded in the current systems of our society. We know that we always have more to do and more to learn, and will continue to strive to meet the needs of our communities.

Like many, we are frustrated and angered by these senseless crimes against Black communities time and time again. When we all take a step back and recognize the pattern of violence, we know that we cannot stay silent. This racism is blatant and unacceptable, and unless we all do our part to condemn it, these racist systems will go unchanged. Therefore, we encourage you to avoid silence and speak up. And as an organization that values education and transformation, we encourage you to educate yourselves on these relevant issues.

You may find our message today echoes the sentiments of our statement regarding the death of George Floyd released just months ago. We are saddened that yet another unjust tragedy has occurred again at the hands of law enforcement - but we are further saddened by the fact that so many similar tragedies go unheard of, unseen, not captured in a viral video. Furthermore, we—us at VSCI and the country as a whole—must remember that the fight for racial equality does not start and end with viral videos and posts in solidarity, but has been ongoing for centuries and must be continued even when social media no longer deems the topic trending.

We as a society must keep up this fight, because we must support our Black communities that have already been fighting so long, and we must ensure substantial, long-lasting change. At Valley Scholars College Initiative, we will strive to do better as well, whether through our educational programs or our financial capacities. We encourage all community members to hold themselves, us at VSCI, their communities, and their government accountable.

Black lives matter. Jacob Blake’s life matters. And each effort towards equality, no matter how small, matters as well.

In community,

Senior Leadership Team

Office of the President

Valley Scholars College Initiative

Lauren Machado

Vice President, Programs

Brandon Harden

Vice President, Finance

Julián Aguilar