Most esteemed Community Colleges of Spokane colleagues and friends:
I join you to share in the heartbreaking reality that we suffered an attack on our democracy from within our beloved United States of America.
I’m at once deeply disturbed, deeply saddened and also deeply hopeful that this unprecedented attack on the United States Capitol as lawmakers convened to carry out their constitutional duty will finally be a major turning point for us, and that each of us will commit to doing our individual duty as citizens to restore, rebuild and unify our deeply divided country. We must.
Our great nation has endured a Civil War and a great deal of fragmentation over many issues over our 245-year history. We have struggled to address historical racial and gender inequalities. We have witnessed many war heroes and men and women of all backgrounds and faiths give their lives and their full commitment to ensure the American experiment remains a symbol of hope, freedom and justice the world over.
I know that each of you and all of you are dedicated to helping our students and serving all the communities in our region. I ask you to continue to be a source of inspiration to our students and to each other as we seek the common good through respectful dialogue, a willingness to listen to different points of view while arguing forcefully for our own.
I look forward to many conversations with you and look forward to your ideas on how we can better understand each other despite our differences. I’ll also offer a few of the books I’ve been reading and hope you will find some of them of interest to you: “The Upswing” by Robert Putnam; “Begin Again” by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.; “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” By Michael Sandel; and Jon Meacham’s “The Soul of America — The Battle for our Better Angels.”
For today, I leave you with a quote that resonated decades ago — and holds true today:
“The fundamental rule of our national life — the rule which underlies all others — is that, on the whole, and in the long run, we shall go up or down together.”
— Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt.