Letter from Dr. Jackson

Jacqueline Jackson Headshot 2018

Dear Campus Community:

I write this with a heavy and sorrowful heart in the wake of the senseless death of George Floyd. In our nation and throughout the world, people from all walks of life—including law enforcement officers in the cities of Houston, Flint, and elsewhere—have come together to express pain, sorrow, and outrage at this tragedy. In the spirit of civil rights movements of the past, and driven by the belief in social justice for all, people in communities across the country are marching and peacefully protesting for racial justice and systemic change. I applaud the peaceful protest recently held in Edgewood, and the support expressed by citizens in Havre de Grace. I commend these peaceful protesters exercising their first amendment rights, expressing care for their communities, and sharing their belief in the need for—and possibility of—real, lasting change.

I’d like to take this moment to affirm HCC’s commitment to equity and inclusion. As an institution of higher education, our charge is to educate students and inspire a passion for good citizenship and civic engagement. The College’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity (DICE) committee is committed to advocating for and promoting these values on campus. We also provide our students with numerous opportunities to engage with the larger world through such programs as “Understanding the Civil Rights Movement in Harford County,” which examines the history of desegregation and equal job and housing opportunities in our region, and through study abroad and service learning trips. We frequently host speakers and presentations highlighting diverse cultures and perspectives, and encourage open conversation on challenging subjects. When our students leave HCC, our hope is for them to contribute meaningfully to their communities and lead through both word and action.

We take seriously our responsibility to uphold the virtues of liberty, freedom, and equality—and to denounce ignorance, hate, and injustice in every form. We will continue our important work, even in the face of individuals and institutions that seek to undermine the truth and deprive the American people of their voice. The idea that all Americans—regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, sexuality, socioeconomic status, or ability—are entitled to the same degree of freedom, respect, and justice should not be divisive. Indeed, this idea is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which ensures that the blessings of liberty are secured for ourselves and our posterity. HCC encourages intellectual freedom, thoughtful debate, and civil disagreement—none of which are precluded by our commitment to protecting and preserving the dignity of the most vulnerable members of our community.

I am proud to say that Harford Community College stands with our fellow Americans who are peacefully protesting for a better tomorrow. We are heartened by the number of young people who are marching for their rights and the rights of others, and, again, by those law enforcement officials who are standing with the protesters and signaling their willingness to engage in the difficult conversations about systemic inequality and racial injustice that are needed to move our country forward. This should give us all hope and encouragement, and beat down the sense of despair many of us have felt these past few days. These images send a powerful and positive message to our communities across the nation: we can do this. The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought our humanity to the fore—our care and compassion, our desire to listen and reassure—and the same is true of the tragic loss of George Floyd.

Our nation has a rich, sometimes painful history that cannot be ignored—but, by uniting our voices and demanding change, we can create a society that is more diverse, inclusive, and equitable. I hope we can all continue to learn, grow, and advocate for a brighter future and a more just society. I am inspired by the thoughtful, reflective and kindhearted engagement I see from our campus community and beyond—may that spirit never be extinguished, and may we continue doing all we can as educators and students to make the world a better place for all. I send my deepest condolences to the Floyd family, and my continued support to those who peacefully march to honor his memory.

Dr. Jacqueline Jackson
Interim President