President Joseph Castro sent the following message to the campus community today (May 30, 2020)
I write today, at a loss for words that fully convey the grief and outrage I feel for the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week. It is my responsibility as your university President to speak out. What happened to Mr. Floyd — an unarmed Black man, a father, a son, a beloved member of his community — and to many before him, is tragic, inhumane and downright reprehensible. My heart and prayers go out to his family and friends, as well as to my many African American friends, colleagues, students and community partners who are experiencing the recurring sense of pain, loss and anger that is rooted in our nation’s history of racism and injustice.
In times like these, it is critical that we collectively redouble our efforts to address the challenges our African American friends and neighbors are facing in our Valley and across the nation. While we may at times feel despair at the frequency of such tragic events, and while we might struggle with how to successfully address racism, I am certain that we can begin by being compassionate, supportive and fully inclusive in our programs and in our actions. Let’s commit to an intentional and unwavering effort to see one another as true partners, consistent with our Principles of Community — kindness, respect, collaboration and accountability — and our core values of diversity, distinction and discovery.
While speaking today with Fresno State alumni and friends, I am reinvigorated to work strategically and collaboratively with community partners to address the educational and socioeconomic challenges facing our African American community. At Fresno State, we can and will do much more through our programs that have already demonstrated progress, through our President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity, Office of Black Student Success, Fresno State’s Pipeline Project, Super Sunday events, the Super Saturday African American College and Career Summit, the Sweet Potato Project and the Preterm Birth Initiative.
The Fresno State community, Mary and I stand united with all of our African American friends and neighbors, as we continue to strive to fulfill our powerful and compelling mission to boldly educate and empower students for success. That is our guiding light today and every day.
I want to remind students who need additional support during this difficult time to seek services available at the Student Health and Counseling Center, by calling 559.278.2734 or by visiting between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (summer schedule). Staff and faculty may contact our Employee Assistance Program if they are in need of support.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Please join me in supporting and advocating for our African American friends and neighbors in constructive and meaningful ways.
Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.