Quality Leadership Matters Blog

 

What can YOU do when racism comes to your town?

August 14th, 2017 by

 

Dear UCEA Community Members,
 
Over the past weekend, Charlottesville, VA, home of UCEA and the University of Virginia (UVA), encountered our country’s legacy of violence, racism, and bigotry. Hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally, using the removal of a Confederate statue as an excuse to spew messages of hate and incite violence. UVA, in preparation of the expected rally, planned a day of events focused on inclusion, diversity and mutual respect. Together, the people of Charlottesville, allies from near and far, and UVA students, faculty and staff, planned to stand peacefully against hate.
 
Friday evening, hate groups carrying torches marched on UVA’s Grounds, attempting to intimidate bystanders and to spread their message of intolerance and hate. The torch lit march was followed by violent altercations, the cancellation of the UVA events, mounting injuries and a tragically violent death. The effects of these terrible acts have impacted us all. On behalf of UCEA, we extend our sincere condolences to the families of the young woman and state troopers who died and to all who were harmed, whether physically, spiritually or psychologically.
 
As UVA’s President, Teresa Sullivan, noted, the behaviors witnessed over the weekend contradict the values of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect–values that the UCEA community holds dear. As we struggle to understand how people become so full of rage that they are willing to harm others, we should not forget, that in addition to the hate this weekend, we also witnessed acts of care and compassion. Those of us within the UVA community and our friends and partners appreciate the many people whose kindness and commitment to humanity has been expressed through brave deeds, charitable acts, social media posts, and participation in vigils across the US and abroad.  
 
As we all prepare to return to our students and classrooms, we recommend several resources:
 We encourage our UCEA colleagues to reflect deeply on their most closely held beliefs and values, and how those beliefs and values are put into practice in daily life and work. As a community of professionals and educators, we embrace a code of ethics and a set of core values that respect and appreciate human difference and potential for good and we have a responsibility to use our knowledge and skill to promote these values. Please know that through your teaching, research, service and clinical care, you make a difference.
 
Your work in the preparation of future school leaders is a responsibility whose weight is present today more than ever. We ask that everyone make an extra effort to reach out with care and compassion as we build and nurture the UCEA community.
 
Sincerely,

April Peters Hawkins
UCEA President
 
Mónica Byrne-Jiménez
UCEA Past President

Mariela Rodriguez
UCEA President Elect
 
Michelle D. Young
UCEA Executive Director


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