RVC professor Robert D’Alonzo, a leader of our Promoting an Inclusive Community (PAIC) committee, was instrumental in the Stand Against Racism events on campus last week. I asked him to tell me more about the events.
On three consecutive days last week, Rock Valley College joined with the YWCA to participate in the national event Stand Against Racism. Students, faculty, staff and the public were given opportunities to voice their support for the struggle against racism, and to show their commitment to finding ways to confront and end this particularly insidious form of injustice – and to affirm our college and city as places where all are welcome.
Now in its second year at RVC, this year’s Stand included events at three campuses: the Stenstrom Center on Tuesday, the downtown Learning and Opportunity Center on Wednesday, and the main campus on Thursday. Over the course of several hours, everyone was invited to speak at an open microphone. Happily, many people took to the opportunity to read pledges against racism, or to speak more directly from the heart about how this issue affected their lives, and why it was important to speak out and reach out.
On Wednesday, a group of faculty, staff and students took to the streets of downtown for a walk-around, inviting passersby, merchants, and jury-duty members to make a pledge against racism. Some people made the usual excuses, but many more showed great interest and spirit. Several students mentioned how energizing it was to bring the classroom outdoors into the city, especially on such an important issue. They particularly enjoyed the route to City Hall, and while the mayor was out of town, many workers (particularly those in Public Works and Engineering) took time out of their day to stand and make a commitment together with the RVC group.
The Tuesday and Thursday events at Stenstrom and the main campus brought a number of people to the microphone, including several RVC classes and their professors, and some very articulate members of the Rockford community. Those in the audience listened carefully to many stories of difficulty and frustration, but also of optimism, hope and the agency that comes with the struggle for a more just and caring society.
Rock Valley College is proud to continue in this Stand. Consider joining us next year, but we encourage you to take a stand daily, as well.