January 7, 2021
As the events at the United States Capitol unfolded yesterday, like many of you, I watched in horror and felt a deep sense of disappointment and anger. It was also a reminder of the important work we have systematically undertaken to uplift our community through a shared sense of values and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is essential now more than ever for us to uphold our commitment to our community.
Yesterday’s violent acts on our democracy are a reminder that the values and freedoms we hold dear are not experienced the same by everyone. As educators, we recognize the interconnectedness of global, national, and local concerns. As we help others interpret these concerns, we must also recognize the humanity in each other. Here is yet another opportunity to lean into a renewed sense of responsibility to each other and to the work necessary to collectively create the community we want to be and the future we seek.
In particular, as we start this new year, it is evident that the challenges we experienced in 2020 are not magically over. Many are struggling with illness, economic challenges, loss of jobs, and loss of loved ones. The instability of these days continues to challenge our mental and physical wellbeing. Our commitment to educational excellence requires us to acknowledge and seek to understand the realities our community faces. We must strive to understand the historical contexts and present day realities as we move forward.
I am committed to this work and ask you to join in fulfilling our commitment to creating a racially just campus climate and upholding our institutional values of community, diversity, inclusion, equity, and mutual respect. Together, we can and will continue to transform the lives of our students and the communities we serve.
Sunita V. Cooke, Ph.D.