Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Dear PCC Community:

You have likely seen recent media reporting about PCC’s “Whiteness History Month." The April event is the first of its kind at our college, and one of many across the country. It is a grassroots project organized by a diverse group of dedicated PCC faculty, staff and students.

"Whiteness" is an academic term commonly used to describe the social and political construction of white identity related to beliefs, cultural norms and privileges. The concept of “whiteness” has been referenced by a broad range of scholars and has been a focus of research, teaching and scholarship since the early 1990s.

We view this project as part of a larger national conversation around race and social justice on America’s college campuses. As Oregon’s largest post-secondary educational institution, it is our responsibility to help continue this courageous conversation. We understand that this will be challenging and uncomfortable work, yet we have made a commitment in our strategic plan to take intentional action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion – for all we serve.

PCC's event is intended to enable a rich and engaging exchange of ideas. We hope it will open up a space for dialogue and discovery around these complex issues. There is no intention, as some may have feared, to "shame or blame" anyone. 

We appreciate civil engagement on this issue, and encourage everyone in our PCC community to remain active participants as we continue this important work together.

Regards,
Sylvia Kelley, Interim President
Portland Community College