Dear FCC Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I write you amidst a 2020 that I never imagined. We face two pandemics simultaneously—the devastation of COVID-19 and the longstanding blight of racism. Both, at times, feel insurmountable. And yet I know, as an educator and leader, that they are not. I know this about racism because of the change I have seen in my lifetime and even during the past few months where the largest movements for racial justice in recorded US history have taken place.
As students, educators, and leaders, we have unique and powerful roles in this time. We can build the knowledge, awareness, skills, and capacity to actively interrupt racial bias and to lead us to racial justice. At FCC, we are deeply committed to anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogy and practice as well as racial inclusion, equity, and justice. Anti-Black beliefs, behaviors, and sentiments are counter to everything we seek to be, teach, and learn at FCC.
Many have asked me what FCC is currently doing and how we can do more as individuals and a College. We know that when working towards justice action is always essential. As a College, the Board of Trustees has named "furthering racial equity" as one of our annual strategic priorities. We are, as part of our institutional commitment to our values and to one another, and among multiple other efforts across the College grounded in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan, making the following four commitments as an institution:
- Racial Equity in Access & Success: To address and eradicate the gaps in access and success for Students of Color, in particular, for our Black/African American and Latino/a/x students. These are racial equity gaps at the College that we have lessened through deliberate interventions and need to continue to do so by intentionally, proactively addressing institutional barriers.
- Strengthening the Racial Climate: Assessing the racial climate at FCC for students and employees and implementing specific, measurable interventions to continue to make FCC an environment where everyone thrives.
- Building Antiracist Leadership Capacity: Continuing to build the capacity of FCC faculty, and staff to be culturally conscious and culturally responsive to our diverse students and colleagues. We will do this through learning, accountability, and strengthening our antiracist commitments and culture.
- Responsiveness: Strengthening our ability as a College to acknowledge and respond to the racial struggles of our time in policy and practice. As part of this commitment, we have launched this webpage with letters from leadership as well as resources.
This is a time for fundamental listening, self- and community-work, and deep learning and we have a variety of ongoing ways to engage. We need to figure out what we don’t know and seek out the conversations, skill building, and learning that lead us to racial equity and justice. I attempt to lead with humility—and I ask that you all humbly join me during this time. We have a few options to support us in this learning. Faculty members, the Center for Student Engagement, and Multicultural Student Services, have created a full calendar of opportunities for students to dialogue, connect, and learn about racial justice. Similarly, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has a robust calendar of racial justice professional development options for faculty and staff. Please consider pursuing these opportunities to strengthen our community and build our capacity as individuals and as a community to work towards justice.
President Burmaster and I are deeply committed to furthering racial justice and equity in our community. We need every member of FCC to join us. We are with you in this journey.
Let's join together in engaging in this commitment and take good care of ourselves and each other during this time.
Tony D. Hawkins, PhD
Provost/Executive Vice President
Frederick Community College