In Other News…

CFA LEGISLATORS OF THE YEAR: CFA is excited to announce our 2021 Legislators of the Year: state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. Both elected officials are guided by an anti-racism and social justice lens, and have recently championed bills CFA believes will ensure a more inclusive learning environment, as well as a safer CSU and California. 

Senator Atkins’ (D-San Diego) commitment to CFA and her crucial work on getting Assembly Bill 1460, our Ethnic Studies Requirement bill – approved and signed into law – makes her a compelling choice as Senator of the Year.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez’ (D-San Diego) Assembly Bill 66, which would have prohibited law enforcement officers’ use of tear gas on peaceful protestors and her subsequent Assembly Bill 48, which speaks to use of both chemical agents and “nonlethal projectiles” by law enforcement, are vital components of law enforcement reform and epitomize the thoughtful and persistent approach that enables societal change.

“CFA is proud to work with our legislative allies on a wide array of issues,” said Steven Filling, CFA Political Action and Legislative Chair. “We are especially pleased to honor two of those allies.  Both Senator Atkins and Assemblywoman Gonzalez have repeatedly demonstrated that they share CFA’s core values and that they are effective in implementing those values. California is blessed to have such committed legislators working so diligently on behalf of its residents and institutions.”

CFA will honor State Senator Atkins and Assemblywoman Gonzalez next week during our annual Lobby Days.

CDC DIRECTOR DECLARES RACISM A SERIOUS PUBLIC HEALTH THREAT: After centuries of the obvious staring us right in the eyes, a federal official finally calls racism what it truly is: a serious public health threat.

In a statement last week, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pointed directly to the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color that she said, “illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism.” 

The CDC will develop interventions and measureable health outcomes over the next year, according to NPR, making this a priority for the agency. Additionally, the CDC launched Racism and Health, designed for public and scientific information and discourse.

“The declaration of racism as a public health threat comes as no surprise to millions who face everyday racism and white supremacy in our society,” said Sharon Elise, CFA Associate Vice President, Racial and Social Justice, South. “Yet the declaration is significant, paralleling the recognition of racism as systemic, a recognition brought to the fore by Black Lives Matter activists and reflected in CFA centering anti-racism and social justice in all of our work.

“Certainly, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the epidemic of police brutality and vigilante violence have made clear that racism places our very lives in jeopardy, killing us now or killing us slowly, impacting every aspect of our lives,” Elise added.