Action for Orlando

June 13, 2016

Dear Students, Faculty, Classified Professionals and Administrators,

We have all been shocked and appalled by the murders in Orlando, and we offer our support and solidarity in the aftermath of this terrible attack.

De Anza College is built on the ideals of equity, community, and mutual respect: that all of us are equally welcome. LGBTQQI young people must feel vulnerable after Saturday’s shooting, as would Latino and African American students seeing news of the carnage in Orlando.  I want to affirm in the strongest possible way our commitment to building a community of inclusion, where hatred is confronted and surpassed by love.

Similarly, we have to support those members of our community whose faith makes them vulnerable to demagogues who use the violence in Orlando to demonize an entire religious community. Students of all faiths -- or no faith -- are welcome here, and we need to stand up to the racism and xenophobia that seeks to pit us against each other.

So, how might we respond to the gun violence in Orlando--both personally and as a community? Our students and the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA) have already taken the lead.

VIDA has announced “Flores para Orlando” every day this week in the Main Quad from noon to 2 p.m. Any of us can stop by to make paper flowers and write notes of sympathy and compassion, as you can see in the picture above. I am sure the entire fence will be covered with the flowers –- a show of solidarity for the families and friends of the victims, and symbols of the inclusive campus that is De Anza.

Students who feel they need emotional support should visit Psychological Services, and employees may take advantage of the Employee Assistance Plan.

In addition to expressing our condolences, I urge that we stand up against bigotry in all its forms. If someone uses an anti-gay slur, or repeats an anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant stereotype, don’t just walk away. Ask, inquire, debate, engage. But please do not walk away.

Thank you,
Brian Murphy

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