Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

'Love and respect your community'

Natalie L. Boehm '20, an MBA student in the School of Business, responds to University of Redlands President Ralph Kuncl's letter, No More Inhumanity. She has given the Bulldog Blog permission to share her reflections, and excerpts of her letter are below.

It makes me happy to see so many who are taking part in the Black Lives Matter peaceful protests. I myself recently took part in the protest held in Claremont, California. Even though I am not from California originally, I feel it is a necessity to protest with the community out here and educate others on the consequences of systemic racism and economic inequality.

I am originally from Upstate New York and lived in Niagara Falls and Buffalo in my younger years. The hate that you have seen taking place on the news, the police brutality, is nothing new. Sadly, this has been going on all my life; Buffalo is a place where no matter what color you are, you try to avoid the police as much as you can. The corruption, economic inequality, racial profiling, and many other injustices you hear taking place in New York City take place in Buffalo as well.

I remember as a child my parents turning on the evening news. The first word that was on the screen was "homicide," night after night. The drug dealing due to the racism and economic inequality terrorized the African American community and divided so many communities in our city. My father told us as we became older that there were parts of the city that we were not to go near, that if we did, we were looking for trouble. ... It was not until after 9/11 realized it was purely out of fear that we would get shot going down the wrong street. My father's family is of Lebanese decent and being Arab American had my family looking at life in a very different way after the attacks.

If there is anything I can say to you, the faculty, staff, and students of this great university is love and respect your community and do what you can to contribute to make it a better place. To see parts of the city I once lived in and loved set on fire hurts so much. To hear my friend tell me how he witnessed a looting from his porch scares me. I have so many friends in the city and I am worried about their health, well-being, and safety. I am grateful my family is nowhere near the area anymore, but I worry, in time, will they be affected by this.

The most painful thing I have witnessed was the unnecessary and brutal assault of a 75 year­ old protester in [Buffalo]. To see two police officers shove him to the ground and see him bleeding out of his ear broke my heart. I cannot watch the video, no matter how many times I have seen it on social media. The few times I have tried, I cried, seeing a helpless older man bleeding and the police stepping over him like his life did not matter. I thought, "What kind of a place did I come from? Why would the police think it is ok to treat another human being like this?" ...

I honestly have to say I would never want you or anyone else at the University to be able to say "I understand" because no one should have to. No one should have to experience and witness the injustices that I saw in the community I grew up in. I only hope in sharing this that others will take it seriously and do what they can to make sure that their community is never like that. ..

Thank you again, Dr. Kuncl, for addressing this sensitive issue at a time when we all need to come together. I finish my MBA in two weeks, and I want to say these two years have been a positive experience in making many friends and experiencing many things I never thought I would in my lifetime.