At CCBC, diversity isn’t just a buzz word or something the tenor of the times has forced us to embrace. It is an innate part of our “open door” mission. CCBC is now a minority-majority institution. We are a college that not only lives its mission, CCBC loves its mission.
Although we already do more than many when it comes to recognizing and supporting our diverse populations, we know that we can do more. We have committed to taking actions that matter, many which I shared in a Community College Journal article – “From Statements to Action.”
CCBC honors its commitment to diversity by counting inclusion among our core institutional values. For us, “inclusion” encompasses a broad definition of diversity: race, ethnicity, gender, age, mental and physical ability, religion, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin and opinion.
No matter the role we play at the college, each of us fits into one or more of these categories. And each of us—no matter our color, size, or shape—has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, as validation of our self-worth.
As a microcosm of the communities we serve, we welcome all on our campuses whether you wear a baseball cap (frontwards or backwards), a hoodie, a leisure suit or a hijab. Diversity is one of our greatest assets, and we believe diversity is everybody’s business, not just the care of those in the Office of Intercultural Engagement. Celebrating our differences actually strengthens our sense of community rather than dilutes it.
United States Poet Laureate and Native American Joy Harjo framed a simple metaphor to capture the essence of the work we are doing: “America will not mature until there is a place at the table for everyone,” she said. “We are all working on the same big story.”
Harjo’s simple metaphor frames a compelling goal for CCBC. We must ensure that every student, faculty and staff member has a seat at our communal table. You have only to look across our college—into our classrooms, Advising Center or tutoring and library cubicles—to realize that diversity lies at the core of our mission. We are first and foremost an educational institution, but we also serve as a bastion of calmness, serenity, safety and opportunity for all who enter our doors.
To reinforce this commitment to equity, I have established the President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council. The work of the group is not policymaking; it is engagement at a high level designed to analyze, discuss and encourage thoughtful and introspective reflection across the college. This work is not easy. It is not about noble words. It is about designing actions that matter.
We are going big in our equity agenda, and we think it will translate into greater student success. At CCBC, we are uniquely positioned to undertake a level of discourse and transformative work that will move our college forward on its trajectory to become a true 21st century college for 21st century students for 21st century jobs.
We have the vision, we have the talent, and we have the will. So I say to all of our CCBC colleagues, thank you for joining us as we step forward on this journey. I say emphatically there is no place for racism, inequality, or marginalization of any group or individual at CCBC.
Not here. Not now. Not ever.