It is with a troubled heart that we write this note of concern and support for the Black community. The events over the last few weeks and following the tragic senseless deaths of African Americans in Georgia, Kentucky, and Minnesota have yet again brought racial injustices to the forefront.
We acknowledge the pain of the Black community at BHSU, in our neighboring states, across the country and the world. We are in support of reviving and advancing the national conversation on racial injustices. As a University, we have a responsibility to be leaders in times of uncertainty. Higher education institutions have historically been and must continue to be a base for increased civic engagement.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” We must acknowledge our shortcomings, our preference to overlook injustices, and our lack of seeking a greater level of understanding. We must be honest with ourselves about our attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs to uncover implicit actions that fall short of our values and aspirations.
Education is one of the most powerful ways to overcome racial inequities. It’s evident in these challenging times that there is an even greater need for educated people who are critical thinkers. Problem solvers and empathy builders are needed to move this country forward at this turning point in our history.
With introspect we realize that the change begins with our own thoughts and leads to actions that impact the entire region. Our student leaders and faculty and staff are committed to providing programming and educational discussions to raise awareness and understanding of diversity. We encourage the BHSU campus to work with community members to serve as leaders of change.
We care deeply about diversity and are concerned with the realities of racism, injustice and bigotry. In light of the struggles taking place in our country and across the world at this time, it’s important for all of us to respond. We must show the members of our campus community that we see them, we stand with them, and their life, lived experiences, and voices matter.
We ask each member of our BHSU community to take the time to be introspective and recommit to seeking justice for all. There is no quick fix to this longstanding oppression, but there are steps that each of us can take and doors we can open for others to improve the situation and create a better future. As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” Yes we must be the change we want to see in the world.
Dr. Laurie S. Nichols, President
Dr. Erica Whitiker, Assistant Director, Student Union & Engagement
Dr. Chris Crawford, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Kathy Johnson, Vice President for Finance & Administration
Dr. Lois Flagstad, Vice President for Enrollment & Student Affairs
Steve Meeker, Vice President for University Advancement