Letter from the President: June 4, 2020
Dear SUNY CCC Family,
I was horrified as the stories of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd followed one another like some repeating nightmare. My mind travelled back to 1955 Mississippi, and the death of Emmett Till. Emmett was the fourteen year-old African-American boy who was forced to carry a cotton gin fan to the Tallahatchie River, where he was beaten, shot, and thrown in the river for flirting with a white woman. How is it possible that Ahmaud, a young black man not much older than Emmett, is gunned down in 2020 while out jogging?
It is understandable in these moments to get overwhelmed by the images of the pain, fear, and anger emanating from our phones and TV screens, no matter where you live. We know that many of our students and colleagues are suffering right now. However, it is critical that in these moments we reach out to one another and don’t lose hope. I take solace in the fact that our College embraces the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We don’t have the answers when tragedies like this erupt, but the belief that every single person has the right to be safe regardless of their race, gender, background, or personal characteristics will continue to guide us in the right direction.
In light of recent events, it is clear we, as a nation, have a long way to go. It is abundantly clear that systemic racism remains a powerful force in our country, more powerful than many are willing to admit. However, the peaceful protesters lining the streets in numerous cities across the nation give me hope, as do the students who fill our classrooms. I am personally committed to an environment where all feel welcome and can contribute to positive and crucial societal change.
Dr. William P. Mullaney