As the nation has been gripped by daily protests against the murders of Black men, women, and children by the hands of the state; Rockfordians have joined the cause and have listed local demands of their own. One demand must be added: Rock Valley College must revoke their racist decision to not locate their Advanced Technology Center at the Barber-Colman site in Southwest Rockford.
In late 2019, Rock Valley College’s Board of Trustees decided to revoke their decision to locate their much-needed Advanced Technology Center at the former Barber-Colman factory campus in Southwest Rockford. This decision comes after nearly two decades of work by both local governments and community grassroots groups to provide the West Side of Rockford equitable access to higher-education and job opportunities.
Rockford has a long, and often racist, history of disenfranchising the West Side from opportunities for growth and wealth. Rock Valley College’s decision continues that racist history and we must say NO MORE.
Located off of South Main Street and along the southwest banks of the Rock River, the Barber-Colman site is the most equitable location for advanced education and job-training opportunities in the region.
Not everyone owns a car or can afford one in Rockford. As much as the Rockford Mass Transit District tries, its bus service can be unreliable or non-existent to such a point that people either bike or walk to where they need to go. Because of this, the Advanced Technology Center must be built in a location that is bikeable, walkable, accessible to ALL.
By positioning the Advanced Technology Center at Barber-Colman, it provides the poorest most-disadvantaged areas of Rockford the strongest opportunities for education and training because Barber-Colman provides the most equitable access for all.
Rock Valley College needs to be a community leader. Right now, it is failing the community. Demand Better. #BlackLivesMatter