Office of the President

Campus-wide Moment of Reflection

Remarks at Campus-wide Moment of Reflection
March 26, 2021

Thank you for joining together as a campus community to reflect on our shared experience over the past year and to remember the human impact of the pandemic.

I’m speaking to you live from our beautiful campus. It was barely more than a year ago that our classrooms, labs, dorms, sidewalks, and open spaces brimmed with our students, faculty, and staff. What followed was a development unprecedented in the history of our university.

Without a doubt, the COVID pandemic has taken a shocking toll in our communities, where we work, where we learn, and in our homes. No one has been left untouched. We recognize and acknowledge the massively disparate effect of the pandemic in low-income communities and among people of color. Our thoughts today are with all those dealing with pain and sorrow.

We are especially mindful of those who have lost loved ones. Please know that you have friends here to support you. The loss may feel endless, but we find degrees of solace in the memories we save and the bonds of love and friendship we keep building.

Helen Keller — the renowned author, activist, and advocate, and someone who was certainly no stranger to adversity — wrote that “All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”

If you have lost a loved one, hold tight to those things that have become a part of you because of the deep love you shared. Allow these memories to be a source of healing and use your own healing as an opportunity to lift and support others. Again, remember that you are not alone. You have friends among the Cal Poly Pomona family ready to help.

We feel for those struggling in isolation. The need to connect one with another has also fallen victim to the pandemic. We will need to be extremely intentional in building and re-building relationships as we safely re-open our communities.

We also take this moment to consider the lives lost in the recent mass killings and those also lost to injustice as the pandemic raged. The human impact of COVID can’t prevent us from remembering the lives and legacies of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor or from seeking out those we’ve lost but whose names we have not known.

We lament the misery added to the pandemic in the form of racism and prejudice targeted at the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. This virus of hate — too easily perpetuated in even the most prosperous of times — only divides us at a time when fostering collective action has never been more important.

To all members of the Cal Poly Pomona community of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, please know that the Bronco family is with you and is here to support you.

And despite the immense challenges and heartache brought on by the pandemic, our campus community goes forward with courage and determination. Every day, you inspire me with your resilience and commitment.

The transition to virtual learning and virtual work has been difficult if for no other reason than the fact that we’ve been apart. Our sense of community and the opportunity to interact with one another defines the Cal Poly Pomona experience. It is what makes us strong. I look forward with great anticipation to as much in-person instruction and activity that we can safely pursue in the fall.

And as the success of the vaccine distribution effort continues apace, we must remain resolute in adhering to the recommended public health practices — as individuals and as communities — to continue the welcomed and long-sought decline in COVID cases across the state.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment during a uniquely challenging time. We are and will get through this together.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Cal Poly Pomona alum Samara Gomez of the Class of 2020 who will share an original poem, after which, we will share a moment of silence.