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Speaker discusses racism raised during the pandemic

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Anabel Martinez
Staff Writer

William Joseph Barber II, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, a non-profit that seeks to uphold Constitutional values such as equal protection under the law, encouraged community members to become proactive in the change of American policy issues during a lecture Saturday at  Pomona College via Hopin.

Pomona President Gabrielle Starr interviewed Barber during the lecture on such issues as diversity, equity and inclusion at the event, before a virtual audience of roughly 350. 

Barber described “interconnected injustices” in the American system, such as systematic racism, systemic poverty, environmental damage, denial of health care, false morality and more. 

“These are … interlocking injustices that require a fusion movement, a movement of all races of people –  particularly poor and low-wealth people, and moral leaders to come together and challenge,” Barber said.

Barber explained that the coronavirus pandemic during the past year has exposed these injustices. 

He described that low-income minority groups are being displaced in our society as it is they who put their lives at risk during the pandemic working face-to-face and blue collar jobs.

“In a world where a virus can travel around from one side of the world to the other in a matter of weeks or months, everyone is our neighbor,” said Liz Cornell of Fellowship Church in Monrovia, who attended the event. “We need to do a better job of caring for each other.” 

Barber said his “agenda” is to heal the nation as well criticizing the government during such a difficult time.

“We need universal health care. We need to repeal the tax cuts that took $2 trillion and gave more money away to corporations” he said. 

He encouraged the audience to question whether the systems we have in place are for the general welfare, or do they just support the rich. 

Barber urged the youth at the event to take these issues personally.

“I think the next generation really cares about these things and I think they are going to be picking up this (leadership) and carrying it,” Cornell added.

Anabel Martinez can be reached at

An earlier version of this story mistakenly said the lecture was held on Zoom. It was actually held on Hopin. The Campus Times regrets the error.

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