Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Celebration & Hope – June 19, 2020
June 19, 2020
In a season in which there is much to lament, this week brings us reasons for celebration and hope. Today is Juneteenth, which commemorates the day on which the last people enslaved in the Confederacy were finally informed of their freedom. Recent events – from the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks to the increasing levels of unemployment and COVID mortality rates among people of color – highlight that there is still a long way to go in achieving equity and equality.
Given the pandemic, the police violence, the protests, and the poor economy, what is there to celebrate? First, there is a growing awareness of the racial inequities embedded in our society. This is evidenced by the depth and breadth of the protest movement sweeping the land and for the diversity of support during this outcry. It is evidenced by efforts at the highest levels of government to reform our policing. It is evidenced by the widespread recognition of Juneteenth as a holiday as was declared here in New York State just this week by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
There is more to celebrate this week. The Supreme Court issued two important decisions: upholding DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and protections from employment discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community. These strides toward equality and opportunity resonate especially because these are two hallmarks of the community college mission. Westchester Community College is here to provide a high-quality, affordable education to EVERYONE in our community, and an education here is still one of the most cost-effective ways to advance academic and professional careers. So, in this time of unrest and uncertainty, take a moment to celebrate this week’s milestones. And remember, we are #WCCHereForYou!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles