In my 38 years in higher education, I have learned a central lesson: In order to be a good leader, one must be a good listener. Leadership influences, and words are critical to best understand the meaning and intent in any message. This time in our nation’s history, with the impact of the pandemic and global protests regarding systematic racism and violence, gives all of us a chance to listen, hear, and advocate for change.
In this report, the group determined that: “With the goal of ensuring the equal educational opportunity of all students, the California Community Colleges embrace diversity among students, faculty, staff and the communities we serve as an integral part of our history, a recognition of the complexity of our present state, and a call to action for a better future
. Embracing diversity means that we must intentionally practice acceptance and respect toward one another and understand that discrimination and prejudices create and sustain privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others
. Our commitment to diversity requires that we strive to eliminate those barriers to equity and that we act deliberately to create a safe and inclusive environment where individual and group differences are values and leveraged for our growth and understanding as an educational community.”
These are critical words that we can all reflect on as we come together with awareness and openness to reduce the harm of bias, racism and discrimination that undermine the country we love and the society we share. As individuals and members of the human race, we all want structural change that will increase our understanding and healing. We each need to develop racial literacy, be an ally and increase our racial consciousness. We are privileged at Gavilan College to educate others, knowing that education changes the world. Most of all, we need to listen.
Each year since I have had the honor of serving as the college president, I have announced a theme to the Gavilan community to anchor the work we do in shared governance and to develop our distinct campus culture. Our themes for the past four years have been
Renaissance, Practice, Service and Student Voices.
For the 20/21 academic year, I am announcing our theme early
Equity, Inclusion, and Healing
These are some of the ways in which the college, and all of us, can show equity, inclusion and healing during this historic time:
As a summer that is different from any we have lived before gets underway, I remind everyone to be safe and remember self-care.