Dr. Tonjua Williams, the president of St. Petersburg College, has shared a letter this week about the events in Minneapolis and college’s commitment to “diversity, equity and inclusiveness” in these dark and emotional times.
Her letter was addressed to the students, faculty and staff at SPC, but I think it’s important to share her letter with our Palladium family. We at the Palladium are proud and honored to be part of an institution with these values.
Here is Dr. Williams letter:
Dear SPC Family,
My heart is heavy over the act of brutality that occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week, and the subsequent protests that began peacefully, but have in some cases turned violent in recent days. I know you are hurting, too. We grieve with the families and friends of those lost through recent senseless acts of violence and everyone across the country, and in our own local communities, who are affected by these horrible events.
At St. Petersburg College we value the sanctity of all human life. We honor diversity, equity and inclusiveness. We denounce racial injustice, classism, sexism, gender bias, religious persecution and bigotry in all forms. We believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect. In standing firm on these principles, we show the world that we are committed to equality and opportunity for all people, all the time.
I am proud and humbled to be a part of our SPC family, a rich tapestry of people of many races, ethnicities, religious affiliations, gender identities, sexual orientations, political beliefs and physical abilities. This diversity, which is a true reflection of our community, makes us stronger.
At SPC, we are uniquely situated to be a part of the solution to the deeply disturbing issues we are facing. Our institution can provide a voice for disenfranchised and marginalized individuals by acting as a convener and supporting respectful discourse to affect change. The very premise SPC is built upon -providing equity and excellence in education for all – provides the foundation for us to listen to one another, learn from each other and teach others.
As we struggle to comprehend the horrific images we saw play out in Minnesota, and in so many other communities over the past several years, our hearts and souls are strained by acts of injustice and inhumanity. If you are feeling sad, distressed, or angry, I urge you to use the resources SPC provides. Our student assistance counseling program and faculty/staff Employee Assistance Program are here to help you.
It is said that a house divided cannot stand. We must unite in our efforts to spread awareness of social injustices, use kindness to bridge differences and work tirelessly to find solutions to move our country forward, peacefully. Let us work together to be the change we want to see. I pledge to be a part of the solution, and I hope that you will join me.
St. Petersburg College