Dear Cincinnati State,
My heart goes out to families and friends who are struggling with profound grief in so many ways. The killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota is another heinous example of the racial injustice African Americans have long endured, and has added fuel to a period of confusion, hurt, and hate in our world.
Most of us who lived through the 1960s never imagined that in 2020 so many people would be marginalized, equity gaps would be increasing, and racist acts would be common.
This is a time, more than ever, to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His prophetic words of realism, hope, and encouragement delivered in a 1967 speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference have much to offer during these times of uncertainty:
"And I must confess, my friends, that the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will still be rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our hopes blasted… But difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future."
(Source: A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King Jr., New York: Harper Collins, 1986)
At Cincinnati State, during this time for celebrating our 50th year, we have hope in the future because our mission embraces access, opportunity, and support for our very diverse student population. We as a college community value equity, as expressed in the statements of our values:
- We believe in contributing to a socially and economically equitable society.
- We honor the diversity and inclusiveness of our College community and strive to hear all voices.
When you think of all the fear and confusion in our society today, someone who imparts hope to others should be celebrated. I think that celebrating hope is our most important task now. As we interact with African American students-- and in fact, with all of our students-- let’s give hope, by accepting, respecting, and encouraging.
This is not to ignore the fundamental changes that must take place in our society. Let us continue to discuss the systemic improvements needed in our internal processes and the community as we seek to uplift ourselves and others to a higher level of justice and fairness. I will be scheduling discussion sessions over the summer to begin this work.
Although this is a sad time, I am truly thankful for our outstanding team of employees, our supportive Board of Trustees and Foundation and Alumni Board members, and our committed students. Thank you for all you do.