JUNE 2020

Joe H. Pickens, J.D.

A message from the President — we care, we are listening

Dear SJR State Family:

The events of the past week have been a tragic reminder of the racial and social injustices that continue to exist in our nation. As President of St. Johns River State College, I stand in support of peaceful protests and in opposition to both racism and violence. Although the senseless killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and so many others did not happen on SJR State's campus, they have nevertheless greatly impacted both our nation and local community. It is my vow to you that as an institution of higher learning, SJR State will continue its work to fight racial, social, and economic injustices and to make a positive impact on our local community. It is my hope that SJR State's commitment in that regard has been evident long before the events of the past week.

I encourage everyone within our College community to support and take care of one another. I also challenge each one of you to not remain silent and to speak out against racism and bias. Change requires willing and deliberate effort from each one of us. A threat to any one of us is a threat to us all, and we must listen to the voices that have for too long gone unheard. That's right, we must listen.

Many of us may find ourselves greatly impacted by the stress of recent events, and it is important to remember that support and counseling services are available. Students, if you need someone to talk to, reach out to SJR State's Advising Office at . SJR State employees have access to resources for managing both anxiety and stress in addition to mental health services through the College's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through the HR Department.

We have no tolerance for racism or discrimination against any person at St. Johns River State College, and today we grieve and condemn the senseless killing of George Floyd and others throughout our country. Colleges have long been great catalysts for social change, and as I reflect on the recent protests and all of the work that is yet to be done, I am proud of the work that we have already accomplished and committed to continuing together our efforts on diversity and inclusion at SJR State.

If you believe in something that the SJR State community can do, or do better, to be a voice of inclusion and peaceful, impactful change, speak up! We are listening.

Joe H. Pickens, J.D.



Susan Kessler
Director of Public Relations and Publications
(386) 312-4020