President’s Weekly Message
It begins with you!
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Dear KCC Students,
On November 14th, sixty years ago, 6-year old Ruby Bridges walked to school with her mother, escorted by federal marshals. When she stepped foot into the William Frantz Elementary School, she became the first African-American student to integrate an elementary school in the South. If you know the history, you know that her experience was frightening. She and her family were threatened, taunted and harassed. For her own safety, she spent the first day of school in the principal’s office. In response to her presence, many white families pulled their children out of school rather than have them in a room with Ruby and she was isolated in a separate classroom away from the students who did not withdraw. Eventually, Ruby would get to sit and learn alongside her white peers. Today, Ruby still lives in New Orleans where she heads the Ruby Bridges Foundation which helps children at William Frantz and other schools. She also travels around the country speaking about her experience and the importance of education and integration to students.
Learning with and from others who have experiences, backgrounds, and ideas different from your own is one of the best parts of being a college student at the City University of New York.
At Kingsborough, we value and celebrate the diversity of our college community and work to ensure the respect, civility, acceptance, appreciation, and support of individual differences. KCC students represent 142 national backgrounds; speak 72 languages and 44% are foreign born. I am sure there are many differences among and between you and your classmates, but I am also positive that you also share a lot in common like your decision to earn a college degree.
I know that turning on a computer to take a class is different from sitting at your desk in a classroom. But the importance of getting to know your classmates and valuing their opinions, experiences and ideas (even if they differ from yours) remains the same. So, the next time you are logged in waiting for class to start, or working on a group assignment, strike up a conversation and get to know someone new.
Ruby Bridges once said, “don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail”. KCC students, my wish for you is that you use this time at Kingsborough to begin a trail of new friendships that will last a lifetime.
Enjoy the rest of the week. Be safe, continue to exercise social distancing measures and wear your mask.