June 1, 2020: Message from the NSC President

Dr. Crawford; North Seattle College President

Good Evening North Seattle College Colleagues,
I had every intention of writing to you today simply introducing myself as your new interim President. However, I would be remiss if I did not address the occurrences of the past few months across these United States. I am an educator and a mother of two adult children. I am shaken to my core by the ongoing racially motivated incidences that very clearly reflect disregard for human life and human dignity.

As I reflect on the most recent events, it reminds me of watching my siblings having to physically defend themselves, often being bruised and battered, to attend schools that did not want them there because of the color of their skin. Having the National Guard called on them for sitting in protest, again, for simply trying to attend high school. Also watching parts of my neighborhood being burned in protest of social injustice and being old enough to be afraid, but not old enough to understand the why. I will not say how many years ago that was, but the fact that systemic racial hatred and acts of violence of this magnitude continue to happen in the 21st century is a tragedy.

As a college community, we must remember that many of the people affected by these events are our students. Many are feeling confusion and hurt as the realities of recent events unfold in plain sight. I hope you agree that injustice must not prevail, and that our students should be encouraged to exercise their First Amendment rights peacefully and steadfastly. They should not be silent, nor should we.

As educators, we promote teaching, learning, and student success. This is also a time to listen. I have no doubt that the events of the past few weeks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, has shaken many of our students to their core. They will need our support even more. This also applies to Faculty and Staff. We should all be moved. If we are not moved, we are not listening. North Seattle College has agreed that our mission is to change lives through education. This includes promoting equality, social justice, and equity. In this, I stand in solidarity with those who want a better community and country for us all.

Please know that I welcome your comments and ideas for how we can use our platform as educators and community leaders to evoke positive change and reject social injustice. Unfortunately, this is an old conversation and it is far from over. Let us create safe spaces to make sure it continues with civility.

With hope and gratitude,
Chemene Crawford, Ed. D
President (Interim), North Seattle College