A Message of Solidarity and Hope

June 2, 2020

North Country Community College was founded during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. It is with deep sadness that the hopes of that movement, some 50 plus years ago, remain still out of reach for many. The tragic death of George Floyd, a fellow citizen and human being who, by creation and by law was endowed with the same liberties and rights that we all have, has brought into stark view that as a nation, we still have far to go to realize the dream the Dr. Martin Luther King illustrated in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

We are an institute of higher education whose core mission is to provide quality academic programs preparing students for transfer and career success. But our desires and values run deeper. We are committed to open access and equal treatment for all.  As a community, we value compassion, kindness and diversity in all its forms. We reject bigotry, racism, sexism and other forms of injustice. We share the aspirations of all those who find themselves oppressed to be treated with equality, fairness, and dignity. No individual’s life chances should be decided by the pigmentation of their skin or any other false measurement of a person’s worth.

For the last 52 years, our college community has been enriched by the diversity of our students, faculty and staff. We are the better for the sharing of diverse experiences and perspectives, for seeing the world through another’s eyes, and for understanding more deeply the challenges that some face due to prejudice and bigotry.

As our nation reels from yet another senseless death of a person of color, we stand in solidarity with those who want to make the world a fair and equitable place for all people. We believe and trust that education, higher education, is an agent of good and a means by which social and economic injustices can be corrected. And we look back to the words of Dr. King and agree that “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”

Going forward, may we find a way to confront these challenges, taking inspiration from Dr. King’s vision and remaining true to our values of compassion, kindness and respect for the diversity of others.

Sincerely yours,

Joe Keegan



Read on: Statement from SUNY Community College Presidents on recent events