Tragedy in Dallas

Dallas Police Chief David Brown, an African American whose own family and friends have been ravaged by violent death, spoke for a nation and to a nation when he said, “All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”

America still has far to go in confronting and ending the implications of its history of racial divide, and the challenges have been escalated by the economic stagnation of the middle class, by the increasing availability of guns, and by the astonishingly low level to which rhetoric in the Presidential campaign has sunk–a rhetoric designed to bring out the worst rather than the best in Americans. There are bad actors in every group, but they do not characterize the group–whether the police or the members of a minority group–which is made up of hundreds of thousands or millions of individual Americans who share the challenges common to all of us–seeking love, supporting and raising a family, working effectively, and living a meaningful life.

While we at Pace cannot solve the nation’s problems, we can meet our own challenges. Like the rest of America, about half of our student body is made up of minorities. In that sense we are a microcosm of the nation. Our community shares a deeply-rooted belief that Opportunitas is all about giving every student the preparation to be the best that he or she can be, and that an essential element of achieving that goal is to take advantage of our diversity and to work together in teams in which each student learns from the different perspectives, life experiences, and culture of the others. The more clearly we learn to see the world through the eyes of those with different backgrounds, the more we see them as individuals and not as undifferentiated members of a group. If we cannot succeed in that effort, how can our nation? If we can succeed, why cannot our nation?

At the same time that we grieve for those who have died or been wounded, we need to continue to deepen our conversations with each other and to deepen our understanding of those of different races, cultures, and backgrounds. To do otherwise is to remain ignorant. As a university, our role is to abolish ignorance.

So please reach out to others; if you think Town Hall or other meetings would be helpful, talk to Student Affairs; take advantage of Counseling Services to talk through your reactions in a more private way; and let me have any other suggestions by e-mail or through your comments.

1 thought on “Tragedy in Dallas”

  1. I have read President Friedman’s presentation in Florida and agree very strongly with the issues that he presented. Being first generation Asian American and working for CUNY, I have experienced many of the his concerns first hand. As a part of the “model minority” I hit the glass ceiling, but managed to reach the level of Higher Education Officer. I have seen poorly prepared high school students enter and become discouraged only to drop out owing thousands in financial aid and creating greater burdens for their families. But it is even harder for me to see resumes of applicants with baccalaureate degrees applying for the lowest entry level clerical position. My own son has two Masters, Education and Higher Education Administration, but accepted a position in Viet Nam while well connected applicants get the position he sought. On the other hand, I have a granddaughter attending her freshman year at Pace University and her twin sister beginning at Stony Brook. I worry for the child at Pace. A former colleague who has more than 30 years of experience in higher education told me that Pace is a poor choice and she would be better off attending SUNY or CUNY. I choose to believe in my granddaughter, who was accepted by many colleges, but preferred to study at Pace. I even took her my mother to Pace, Pleasantville to see her great granddaughter at her new school. I hope and trust that this was the right decision as her parents are divorced and have left parental duties to us the grandparents. I will keep monitoring the events at Pace. Ten years is a very short time when is comes to education, especially if there are loans to pay.

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