Living our values; Standing strong for equity

A message to the Lorain County Community College campus and community:

I am grieving with you. I am deeply saddened, angry and overwhelmed by the horrific recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others that are rooted in racism and hate. These tragic events and ensuing violence have shaken our community and our nation, leaving us all mourning, outraged and utterly astonished. To our communities of color, I want you to know that Lorain County Community College denounces these actions as racially motivated violence that will not be tolerated. My heart aches for you and the fear and burden you endure in the continued presence of racism, and as an institution we stand in solidarity with each and every one of you.

These racially motivated acts of hate are merely one representation of the racism that still permeates our world. Recently, the pandemic began exposing those inequalities with a disproportionate amount of cases striking our Black communities. These tragedies, and the reasons behind them, cut against everything Lorain County Community College stands for. Lorain County Community College was founded on a core belief that all people deserve the opportunity to access and succeed in higher education. Our values are stronger than ever with a deep commitment to not only providing opportunity, but ensuring equity, inclusiveness and diversity in all we do. In recent years, we’ve taken on intentional work to nurture a culture of care that values diversity, equity and inclusion. This work is formally embedded into the College’s strategic plan, Vision 2025, which we developed in collaboration with our community. Our strategic plan puts forward one simple vision: create a vibrant community for ALL.

I am proud of LCCC’s commitment to equity and the fabric of diversity represented on campus among our students, faculty, staff and administration that mirrors the composition of our community. I am proud that LCCC can serve as a safe environment for individuals of varied backgrounds to pursue a better life. I am proud that in Lorain County Community College’s name you will find the word UNITY, and that our campus can bring us together to make our community a better, more equitable place. I am proud that our community has modeled the way with peaceful protests. I am proud that we are willing to recognize that our work in ensuring equity and inclusion and fighting racism and hate is not done. I am proud that we are truthful and willing to own the fact that we have much more work to do. I am proud that we, as a college and a community, have the courage to change and to fight for what is right.

Amidst all the emotions we are experiencing, we must, more now than ever, stand strong together to challenge such injustices, to combat hate, to support healing and to drive change. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

I pledge to you, as the community’s college, we will do all we can to help our students, employees and citizens heal and drive the change necessary to avoid future tragedies and loss of innocent lives due to hate. We can do better; we must do better.