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Dear Colleagues and Students,

Today we are witnessing a painful and frightening period in our national history. Deeply engrained inequalities in our systems, laws, policies, and institutions that reinforce bias have brought about these tragedies. We mourn the losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, and so many others who have lost their lives to racial violence born of systemic racism. Our sympathies go to their families. Our commitment to economic and social justice grows stronger. We refuse to accept the status quo. We know we can do better. In fact, we must.

Here at Mid, our mission is to empower learners and transform our communities. Many of our students have read the work of the educational philosopher Paulo Freire. Freire wrote that, “Education does not change the world. Education changes people. People change the world.” Those words harken back to the encouragement of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

We write here knowing that this letter will not solve the problem or erase the injustice. We write now because it is important to speak these truths about a power structure that must change. Part of that change begins with critical self-reflection of our own thoughts and actions. We write to acknowledge the fear that haunts us and to voice our determination and resilience. We know that our students, alumni, faculty, and staff – including those in

our Criminal Justice program – want to be a force for positive change in the world.

As we prepare for the opening of the academic year, we encourage your participation in our shared governance system, particularly in the IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action). Current leaders of that committee include Sallie Butler, Jessica Chemberlin, Amy Dykhouse, Amy Goethe, Ryan Harkrader, Maggie Magoon, and Jillian Moomaw. Karry Kiste-Toner (kkiste@midmich.edu) is the chair of the committee. These individuals are available if you would like to be a part of a wider discussion about inclusion, diversity, and equity here at Mid.

One of the College’s core values is People. This means that Mid cares about you—amid the current tensions and any other circumstances life may bring. We understand that you may be experiencing complex emotions that you want to work through with a professional. We have compiled a list of mental health and other resources on our wellness resources web page.

We also encourage you to vote in every election. Exercise your right to choose people who will work toward the changes you want to see. Our College is participating in the national ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge to encourage voter participation and civic engagement.

Now is the time to stand together, to empower learning for every individual, and to transform our communities to be places of safety, equity, and inclusion.

Sincerely,

President Christine M. Hammond and the Mid Michigan College Board of Trustees


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