Leadership Statement on the Electoral College Certification of the President and VP of the USA

7 January 2021

Dear Peralta Community,

Yesterday, our nation witnessed a disgraceful display of vandalism, violence, and insurrection at the United States Capitol, during the long held tradition of validating the will of the people. Many political and educational leaders across the country have rightfully condemned the misguided actions of those rioters who breached the Capitol, and the Peralta Community College District denounces their lawless actions as well.

Let us bear in mind, however, that despite the events of January 6, 2021, we are witnessing historic change and progress. In winning his Georgia Senate race, Jon Ossoff became the first Jewish senator elected from the Deep South in well over a century. With his victory in the other Georgia Senate race, Raphael Warnock will be the first African-American Democrat from the Southern United States to serve in that body. Finally, with Congress certifying the election of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, the United States we will have our first Catholic president since John F. Kennedy, and the first African American Vice President ever.

As a community we must remember that some contests are bitterly fought and victories are sometimes hard won. When it comes to the struggle for social reform and justice, there are people who believe that they have a right to challenge those efforts, even when it causes suffering to millions. The violence that was perpetrated on Capitol Hill yesterday was an attack on the democratic values of our country. Let us always remember that as leaders in the California Community College System, we have no other option but to stand upright and advocate for what is right. We commit our leadership to advance student success and dismantle the fabrics of our institution that serve as barriers to equity and inclusive excellence.  

So today, let’s celebrate our new administration, and hold in our minds and hearts a sense of hope, compassion, and commitment to our communities despite the efforts of those who seek to undermine our democratic institutions and our common humanity. 

Thank you and be safe,  

Dr. Carla Walter, Interim Chancellor, Peralta Community College District
Dr. Rudy Besikof, President, Laney College
Dr. Angélica Garcia, President, Berkeley City College
Dr. David Johnson, President, Merritt College
Dr. Nathaniel Jones III, President, College of Alameda