Dear College Community,
The news this week has left many of us numb and speechless. From the brutal death of George Floyd, the incident in Central Park, to our country’s announcement about withdrawing from the World Health Organization, in speaking with some of you in the last few days, I know that so many are asking who are we becoming as a nation. In the midst of all that is dark and scary, we need to remember that our work in higher education is critical and impactful.
I understand that some of you are having a hard time processing all of this. There are things that we can do. We have an obligation to educate our students to help us do and be better as a community and as a country. We can create spaces for students to get to know each other on a deep human level, and for us to get to know one another—especially those with experiences that are different from our own. As we teach students about the dark moments of our history of oppression, of struggles for human rights and of their implications for race and human relations that we cannot just sweep over, let us also give them some hope by learning together and teaching them about the champions of justice and equity across the racial, gender, gender identity spectrum, among other identities.
Technological advances are allowing us to capture incidents that we know have been occurring with some frequency across our country, and some of our students have their own experiences and those of family members that make these even more traumatizing for them. Others without those experiences are also struggling with their feelings. We are all grateful for the members of our team who are helping students process their emotions.
As I reflect on how else we can make a difference, I see a need to redouble our efforts to teach students about the literatures, the scientific discoveries, and the many contributions of those who look like them and those who do not. We must continue prioritizing racial equity as part of our curricula, as a major area for improving academic and non-academic outcomes, and as an area where we all are willing to experience some discomfort. Let me express my gratitude for those on campus who have been leading us in these realms in the time that I have been at GCC and well before that. We value your hard work, your time, and your courage.
I know that this is a hard time, but we must not despair. Let us learn from these moments and resolve to do our part. I am happy to connect by phone or email with anyone who wishes to do so.
My very best,