A Letter to CCCS Faculty and Staff from Dr. Ryan Ross, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Equity, and Inclusion
This time of year always brings up mixed emotions for me. In January, I am thrilled to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and in February, the hard work and vision of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who created what we now celebrate as Black History Month. Between the two observances, we experience about 44 days when Black Excellence is embraced in the workplace, the tone and tenor on television changes, and people proclaim that Black Lives Matter—as well as the inequities created by oppressive systems. It’s an incredible 44 days.
We must remember our mission, our purpose, and those we serve.
The complexity is challenging, but we cannot allow the shift in mainstream media to stop us from answering, Now what? The answer is simple: We keep celebrating and we keep moving forward.
Higher education professionals, especially in the two-year sector, embody both legacies of MLK, Jr. and Carter G. Woodson. Dr. King dreamt of access, equality, and addressing the inequities of those in poverty. Dr. Woodson made an academic appeal for the institution of Black History, which is American History.
Colleagues, I am here to tell you, we do both. So, when the times get rough, we must remember our mission, our purpose, and those we serve.
So, when asked Now what?, let’s answer with actions that ensure everyone thrives. After all, Black History is a celebration of making something from nothing, overcoming insurmountable odds, and moving forward when paths are not clear.
Sound familiar? Then join me in celebrating this month and by rededicating ourselves to our organizational DNA—creating an environment where education and thriving are not a privilege for some, but a right for all.