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A message from the President about the protests

A message from the President about the protests

Published on: June 2, 2020


To the Becker Campus Community:

In a 1967 speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Stanford University, he said, “In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?” The “Other America” speech was recently shared on Twitter by the King Center; I urge you to listen to this powerful message.

Now, 53 years later, we must ask ourselves this same question.

If you have been following the news, you have learned that the protests are not just about one person, George Floyd. They are about Rodney King in Los Angeles. Trayvon Martin in Florida. Michael Brown in Missouri. Philando Castile in Minnesota. Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. And so many more. As Floyd pleaded for his life, crying out, “I can’t breathe,” his words echoed those of the late Eric Garner in July 2014, who police had pinned to the ground on a New York City sidewalk.

If you have participated in any of the marches and protests, I commend you for taking action, which I hope was peaceful and safe. If you are experiencing distress, anxiety, or other emotional responses to the news and protests—on top of the challenges presented by the pandemic—please know that Becker provides a number of resources for you. No matter where you are right now, you are not alone. You are part of our Becker family, so please reach out if you need support.

We have all been affected and saddened by the tragic and violent events in Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities across the country. Using our voices to advance the message of equality, respect, dignity, and safety for all citizens is our right and privilege as Americans. As I hear the stories of fear, pain, and frustration amplified from every news outlet, my heart breaks. I find myself as many do—searching for the right words.

A friend and colleague in higher education wrote in a letter to her community, “As a White-identifying woman of significant unearned privilege, I am keenly aware of my responsibility to move beyond performative words of support, do my own work to both learn and unlearn, and move into advocacy and action.”

Her words resonate with me, and for our entire community. It is vital for all of our voices to be heard. I urge our faculty to engage in civil and meaningful discourse with their students about these and other issues affecting our country. I ask our students to reach out and tell me what they want to happen at Becker College that will serve to ensure that the voices that make up the fabric of diversity in our campus culture are heard. What can we do better? What can we do differently? How can we, as a united community, move into action and advocacy?

In our role as educators, and in your role as a learner, we must work together to ensure our campus community as a whole, and each member of community individually, continue to raise our voices for those who have not been heard, and denounce, as Dr. King conveyed, the “conditions that continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn the riots.”

We look forward to being able to resume our campus life in the fall (more details will follow), to celebrate our diversity, and to engage in meaningful discussion on how we can affect positive change in our society.

I wish you all the best in the coming weeks. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D.

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