Dear College Community,
It’s Pride Month! We celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+ community, and all that they/we/us have accomplished throughout history and contributed to our college community, some loudly and some quietly, but both dynamically.
As we celebrate, I am reminded of how deeply integral our KCC Values are interwoven into the very essence of “Pride Month.”
Our KCC Value of Diversity is embodied in Pride and we need not look any further than the Rainbow flag that symbolizes the diverse and awesome beauty of our LGBTQ+ community of colleagues, students, friends, family, and allies.
Respect, another of our KCC Values is also reflected in Pride, especially in the way we seek to be “civil” to each other, “accepting,” “appreciating,” and “supporting” each person’s “individual differences.” How lucky are we to be at a college that respects individual differences! Imagine how dull it would be to study and work in an environment where everyone was the same, with the same thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. But difference should not be fertile ground to sow the seeds of intolerance and hate.
And this gets me to my last Pride point: the use of words to hurt and demean others. We know all too well, and perhaps have been or continue to be on the receiving end of the rhetoric of hate. Throughout history, the LGBTQ+ community as well as other groups have been called many cruel and ugly things, suffering great discrimination. In the past, the words “gay” and “queer” have, sadly, been weaponized to hurt, to ridicule, to harass. More recently in society, there can be great disrespect towards our transgender community by the intentional misuse of their preferred pronouns. Too many of us have been on the receiving end of the rhetoric of hate because of who we are and what we believe. At KCC we must be better and do better not just for Pride month, but every month of the year.
So as I reflect on Pride Month and our College Values, it bears repeating: What we believe, say and do has a very real impact on others. As members of this college community, we have a responsibility to be civil, professional, and respectful not just for the sake of our College Values, but (call me an optimist) so we can make the world a better place.
My goal is to make KCC a better place; a place where we can all thrive as we engage in the work of helping students to fulfill their academic goals. To this end, and as I shared at my session last week during Assessment Week, we have started the required paperwork to create/ request a new position of Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion who in addition to leading professional development on such topics as identity, privilege, racism, anti-Semitism, LGBTQIA inclusion, gender equity and diversity, implicit bias, cultural competence, health equity, social justice, and related topics, will also partner with our KCC colleagues who are experts in these areas, faculty, staff, students and affinity groups to cultivate a learning and workplace climate that embraces and sustains equity, diversity and inclusion.
I take great PRIDE in knowing that we can live up to our Values. Happy Pride month KCC. Happy Pride always!
Dr. Claudia V. Schrader