Dear members of the Endicott College community,
It is with a heavy heart that I must state the obvious: we denounce all forms of racism and hatred and continue to respect all members of our community. We strive to build a more diverse and inclusive academy where we can listen, learn, and act with dignity. We must stand with our state, our city, our community, and our campus.
Twenty-eight years ago, just a few days before Eileen and I were to be married, riots broke out in Los Angeles following the acquittal of police officers who viciously beat Rodney King. I clearly recall sitting in a plane on the tarmac at LAX watching as fires raged in the distance. That horrific incident took place in plain view of a video camera.
One week ago, the world witnessed a police officer blatantly murder George Floyd, which was captured on several mobile devices. This time it was in Minneapolis, a vibrant Midwestern city that represents the best of the heartland of America. Too many disturbing episodes like these have happened over the past three decades with many leading to loss of life. One individual stated it best, “there are not more incidents than there were before, there are just more cameras.”
When we return to campus this fall, we will be facing several major challenges that include healing the wounds inflicted by both physical and emotional pains. No person should have to live in fear, particularly in fear of those who are supposed to protect them. As I noted during my inaugural address less than a year ago, we are investing in diversity and inclusion initiatives that will make our campus more representative of the society in which we live. We will engage our community in dialogue and listen intently to the expressions of anger and frustration caused by too many years of systemic oppression in our nation. Most importantly, there will be zero tolerance for anyone who disrespects or denigrates another human being. The Endicott campus is safe for all.
I urge you to join me in this momentous call to action. It will not be easy to confront issues of racism, but it is imperative that we do just that. Together we stand for justice and embrace a culture of respect. Together we will be part of positive change in our society. Together we will rise above.
Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D.