A message of love and respect from the president

Or: Why I love my local community college and its leadership

Greenfield, Mass., the place I love to call home, is the county seat of Franklin County, the most rural and the lowest income county in the commonwealth.

It’s also the home to Greenfield Community College. You don’t need to go far in Franklin County to hear a powerful story about someone’s life transformed because of the opportunity and support they got from GCC. Because these stories are ubiquitous and true, thousands and thousands of people support the school with easy commitment and natural enthusiasm year after year.

I am a proud member of the Board of Directors of the Greenfield Community College Foundation. We operate, with great commitment and enthusiasm, as a staff directed development committee and booster club for the school.

Yesterday, school president Bob Pura sent the following letter to the whole school community. I share it here because it is a model of how to do it right. When an institution has an articulated and shared commitment to inclusion, equity, and justice for all, that organization has a clear and obvious compass. When that institution has a leader whose first interest is to pull other seekers forward, then we are the luckiest community college in the world.

Thank you, Bob. This week was really scary. Your letter reminded me that I, too, believe that love will prevail.

Dear GCC Community,

It has been most difficult for our nation to watch and experience the levels of hatred and intolerance unfold at The University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The violence committed by white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups is not an example of free speech but an act of deep seated racism and anti-Semitic bigotry. Heather Heyer, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, lost their lives and 35 others were injured in that confrontation. The injury to the soul of our nation will deepen if we do not clearly condemn and rebuke the acts of the white supremacists and neo Nazis responsible. We must then recommit ourselves to the core egalitarian values on which our democracy is built.

Between inclusion and racism I am betting on inclusion. Between fascism and democracy we will stand for democracy. Between hate and love, I know that love will prevail. And between the hindsight of yesterday and the uncertainty of tomorrow, I am confident that will work together to create the community we want the world to become.

As this fall semester approaches, I want to reaffirm GCC’s collective commitment to inclusion, equity, and justice for all. Our Mission and Vision, Principles of Education, and Statement of Inclusion speak of our values and remain our compass going forward.

Hate has no place at GCC!



Image of Penelope Davis, of the Greenfield Community College criminal justice class of 2017, with President Bob Pura after receiving her diploma, borrowed from Daily Hampshire Gazette.

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