In recent months, our nation has faced many health and economic crises, and now there is the tragic death of George Floyd. I have taken time to observe, to listen, to reflect and to hear the voices of those who are in pain, discouraged and afraid. I am deeply saddened by the tragedies of racism, deaths, and violence in our country. These times are somber reminders of the imperfect world in which we live and of our duty to make it better. People are hurting.
The greatest gifts that we can give others are compassion and understanding for their feelings and the realities of their world. Compassion emerges from the heart. Understanding comes from unfettered listening to the voices of others to “hear”, with open minds, their words. How we respond speaks of who we are… not just who we say we are. Who are we?
It is imperative that our campus community and the community at-large work together to create a stronger culture and climate that not only promotes meaningful exchange of ideas, but also ensures that no one is a target of hate, crime, racism and discrimination in any form. Our university’s core values of “fostering a culture of respect and inclusion” must not merely be words, but also actions modeled. I will continue to partner with our community, the campus leadership, the faculty and students to listen, to hear and to engage in conversations that result in meaningful approaches to mitigate racism, inequality and any form of discrimination in our society.
We have made great strides as an institution in our 110-year history, but we have much more work to do. Our language must reflect promise and hope. Our actions must produce change. We are connected by our shared humanity. Let’s continue to unite in what connects us as we move forward. We must unite in spirit and in love. We must unite in conversations and understanding. Let’s honor our motto of “United by UAM”. Let’s unite.
Peggy M. Doss, Ed.D.