Statement from UA-PTC Chancellor Margaret Ellibee
I would like to take this time to address the events unfolding in our country since this last week and this weekend. The death of Mr. Floyd is unthinkable. This indeed is a horrible time for our country and its citizens, I can't fathom the level of racial inequality that our African-American brothers and sisters have faced for centuries. I can though, sincerely understand their hurt, fear, and frustration, - and for that my soul cries and my heart breaks.
The University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College unequivocally and explicitly condemns racial injustice, racial prejudice, and racial inequality in word and deed. This college is here for all people who aspire to build better lives through higher education. As we work together to fulfill the promise of a better tomorrow, we do so in full knowledge that a brighter future will, of necessity, embrace equal rights, diversity, compassion, a commitment to justice, and respect for the human dignity of all people. As individuals and as an institution, we proclaim and affirm these values. Our country has had this inequality going on for centuries and it must stop. As a nation, we have to have that crucial conversation and remain in peace. We have to embody the grace and love that Dr. King spoke to, as well as so many other leaders.
One of those leaders is Congressman John Lewis. I have long admired this gentleman. On Saturday, he released the following statement:
"Sixty-five years have passed, and I still remember the face of young Emmett Till. It was 1955. I was 15 years old — just a year older than him. What happened that summer in Money, Mississippi, and the months that followed — the recanted accusation, the sham trial, the dreaded verdict — shocked the country to its core. And it helped spur a series of non-violent events by everyday people who demanded better from our country.
“Despite real progress, I can't help but think of young Emmett today as I watch video after video after video of unarmed Black Americans being killed, and falsely accused. My heart breaks for these men and women, their families, and the country that let them down — again. My fellow Americans, this is a special moment in our history. Just as people of all faiths and no faiths, and all backgrounds, creeds, and colors banded together decades ago to fight for equality and justice in a peaceful, orderly, non-violent fashion, we must do so again.
“To the rioters here in Atlanta and across the country: I see you, and I hear you. I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness. Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in. Stand-up. Vote. Be constructive, not destructive. History has proven time and again that non-violent, peaceful protest is the way to achieve the justice and equality that we all deserve.
“Our work won't be easy — nothing worth having ever is — but I strongly believe, as Dr. King once said, that while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.”
Congressman Lewis has lived through the struggle. I remember 1968 -vividly- and how that awful time over the same awful injustices took place. So, I hope of all hopes that the loving conversation involving leaders, our communities, you, me, and all our citizens come together - now. It is a required priority. It must be a fair and inclusive process.
As we come together, I believe our country needs love, right now. That's essential. My parents taught me to "love thy neighbor as thy self." That's the essential foundation. I try to embody that. I know you do too. Our country is founded on the principle of “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In these troubled days, please join UA – Pulaski Tech as we hold fast to what is right and true. Let's walk together to do what is right and good.
Dr. Margaret Ellibee