January 23, 2023
Dear Peralta Community,
Welcome to the Spring 2023 semester. Today should be a day of celebration for students returning to our colleges’ to continue their educational goals and to avail themselves of our outstanding instruction and support services. Today should also be an opportunity for us to celebrate the Lunar New Year – the Year of the Rabbit. And we do celebrate these events!
But this week, we also fly our flags at half-staff at the campuses in solidarity with US President Joe Biden and our federal government, in memory of the lives lost and people injured at the tragic shooting yesterday at Monterey Park in southern California. Monterey Park is home to one of the largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in America, many of whom were celebrating the Lunar New Year along with loved ones and friends this weekend. The impact of this tragedy reaches our very own community, as many of our colleagues, students, and community members are mourning, during a time that should be filled with celebration.
We emphatically condemn such violence and again call for additional legislation regarding gun control. Our legislators in Washington D.C. must act to curb easy access to firearms, which will save lives and avoid these tragedies that are far too common. We call upon the United States Senate to consider HR-8, a bipartisan bill that passed the House in 2019 and again in 2021, which would require background checks for those wanting to purchase guns. You can contact members of the U.S. Senate to voice your demands here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm.
Peralta Community College District has counseling services available for both students and employees. For links to your campus contact, visit https://www.peralta.edu/health-services/. Peralta employees have access to free, confidential counseling -- including grief counseling -- through our Employee Assistance Program administered by MHN. Please call MHN toll-free at 1-800-535-4985, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; TDD callers can dial 1-800-327-0801.
All of us have seen tragedy at some point in our life; and although some events are more profound than others—it does not lessen the impact that it has on our psyche and our soul. As trite as it sounds, life must still go on. And while we can’t--and shouldn’t--put this behind us as if it doesn’t matter, we should also remember that our actions -- like those in Monterey Park, where bystanders thwarted another attack that would have caused further harm -- bring hope, inspiration, and education to those around us. Regardless of the circumstances that occur, all of us are special people. If you see something, say something..., and if appropriate, do something! The Peralta Public Safety switchboard is at (510) 466-7236 while for emergencies, call 911.
Stay vigilant and be safe.
Dr. Jannett N. Jackson, Interim Chancellor, Peralta Community College District
Dr. Angélica Garcia, President, Berkeley City College
Dr. Diana Bajrami, Acting President, College of Alameda
Dr. Rudy Besikof, President, Laney College
Dr. David M. Johnson, President, Merritt College