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Brad Cook

 

Be aware of heart-breaking struggles

outside our insulated Sanpete Valley

 

6-18-2020

 

As pleasant as it is here in central Utah, we as a college would be completely remiss to not acknowledge the heartbreaking events over the past week in our country.  It’s almost trite to keep saying “we live in unprecedented times,” but, honestly, who could have predicted what 2020 had in store? Just as we are working through the difficulties brought on by COVID-19, our country was stunned yet again by another act of violence that has shaken the entire world.

The death of George Floyd is yet another scene played out far too many times in our nation’s history. It is one that reminds us that, as a nation, we still have much to do to ensure all people are treated equitably and no one has to live in distress of being killed simply because of their race, religion or other difference.

We endeavor at Snow College to be a place where everyone is welcome, respected and included; but, on occasion, even here, we have much work to do to match our ideals. That is why it is imperative that all of us do our part to make sure we establish a safe environment where everyone can feel at home; a place where our differences allow us to thrive. One of the greatest functions of a college is to model for our young people the respectful sharing of experiences, ideas and beliefs. We don’t have to agree, but we do need to act with kindness, compassion and civility.

As we all struggle to comprehend the horror of George Floyd’s death and its impact, the protests that have electrified our country have illuminated, for me, the words of the author EM Forster when he wrote:  “Most of the trouble in the world is due to our inability to imagine the innerness of other lives.” Living in such privileged circumstances as we do in central Utah, we sometimes risk being insulated from the deep and real struggles of certain communities in our country, and it’s difficult sometimes to even imagine their lives and realities; which perhaps means we have to work even that much harder to listen and understand.

It’s good to see some progress made toward racial equity and justice in some caring communities, including at Snow College. However, moments like now demand an honest evaluation of what we will do, both collectively, and individually, to take more than a moment or two for indignant outrage, but be agents for deep and lasting change.

We ask you to join us in a shared commitment in making our country, our state, and our Badger Nation community equitable, inclusive and just. We ask you to commit to truly listen to the voices that have not been heard, and to engage in the real, lasting change that those voices deserve.

Troubling times call for more than just words, they call for action. We will begin working with the administrative and academic leadership, along with our student leaders, to create a variety of convenings themed around racial injustice. We also look to our faculty to help harness the current research and high-impact practices that can help us engage more deeply during this difficult moment in our country.

As we begin a new day and soon a new academic year, we also ask you to heed the words of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, when she wrote:

“Warning, in music

words devout and large,

that we are each other’s