"I ask every member of the NCC family to make a personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion not just as the highest priority for this college, but also a priority in their own lives."
Dr. Mark H. Erickson, Northampton Community College President,
I have not slept well these past few months primarily because of COVID-19 and the uncertainty this pandemic has brought. This week my sleeplessness intensified as I saw the video of George Floyd’s death and was reminded of the many unnamed men and women of color who daily encounter discrimination that I will never know. As the President of the most diverse college in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I feel a special responsibility to every member of the NCC community, but my heart particularly aches this week for our students, faculty, and staff of color who must carry the burden of this reality with them always.
As a college we have been talking a great deal about the “new normal” that we must embrace in our post-COVID lives. That “new normal” must not only address the challenges of this viral pandemic, but also the pandemic of racism, discrimination, and inequity that persists in our society. We must continue to expand our efforts to ensure that every student at NCC will be honored and celebrated for who they are no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
I ask every member of the NCC family to make a personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion not just as the highest priority for this college, but also a priority in their own lives. My thoughts and prayers are with George Floyd’s family and with all the non-violent protesters who are expressing the need for change in cities across our nation and I stand in solidarity with them. And while I condemn the looting and violence that has accompanied some of these demonstrations, I encourage all of us to try and understand the deep wounds that have prompted such a response and implore us to be unified in our efforts to eliminate the hatred and brutality that has created such division in our society.
The greatest strengths of NCC are our people, our diversity, our genuine commitment to one another, and our shared values. We must continue to utilize these incredible talents in the weeks, months, and years ahead as we together build a “new normal” where we will all feel loved, respected, and safe.