Following the events in Minneapolis and the protests and riots that followed, CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall determined that the college must have avenues for conversations and action ideas about topics of equity and inclusion. Gotschall also said that these opportunities should exist for not only employees, but with CCC students and community partners.
That was the beginning of the formation of what is the Equity Action Committee. The committee’s purpose is to “educate, advocate and advance equity issues in order for Central Community College to fulfill its mission of maximizing student and community success.” Equity topics may include and are not limited to issues of race, ethnicity, disability, mental health, gender, religion and poverty.
The committee was open to anyone who would like to take part, including members of the community. When first announced, more than 50 CCC staffers and one external person indicated that they would like to join in.
In the days following the announcement of the committee, Local 4 News produced a story and spoke to a few CCC administrators about what outcomes they hope for.
“I feel like as educators we need to lead some of these discussions in the community,” Dr. Beverly Clark III, dean of academic education, told reporter Diamond Nunnally. “So, I would like to see more involvement in the community, assisting and having some of these discussions on diversity and inclusion, more specifically how it relates to racism and social injustice.”
Dr. Paulette Woods-Ramsey, dean of health education, told Local 4 that in addition to the dialogue, an open invitation to listen to people’s concerns is critical.
“If you’re hurting, I’m hurting. Doesn’t matter to me what color you are,” said Woods-Ramsey. “What matters to me is that you’re a human being.”
During the committee’s first meeting, participants shared what motivated them to want to become involved, with many wanting to learn more about how to overcome difficulties that some people had experienced. To help begin the educational process, a list of books, websites and podcasts was later shared.
Moving forward, the committee elected co-chairs, established subcommittees and will be meeting regularly this coming year.