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Open Letter From the Chancellor to Students and Members of the Peralta Community Colleges Family

14 November 2016

Dr.-Laguerre-by-Kuroda-0943It has been an amazing fall semester filled with unexpected sets of events internationally, nationally and locally.  We have seen the best of ourselves and, at times, the worst, and have questions that remain unanswered. Nevertheless, we must continue to advance the ideals of America.

The Presidential election results were stunning for all to behold. Despite one’s political allegiances, I believe that Americans are still committed to fairness, and to giving a chance for unforeseen events to play themselves out.  The American system is so strong that however shaken, it will always survive.  Above all, the compassion of the American people will not wane.

Americans have within ourselves enough goodness to transform any challenges into opportunities for overall human betterment. Exemplars of this moral strength are seen in heroes the world over:  anti-slavery Haitian Toussaint Louverture; Abraham Lincoln; Nelson Mandela; Rosa Parks; Cezár Chavéz; Mahatma Gandhi; John F. Kennedy; Harriet Tubman; Saint Theresa, and many more. The goodness in Americans is not defined solely by who is elected President of the United States of America; collectively we have more power to transform this country than does any one person. What’s more there is a good chance that the office of the Presidency itself may educate Mr. Trump into the enlightened and caring leader that we deserve.

I do not want to downplay the fear that many citizens and many undocumented students have, given the upcoming Trump presidency. Yet, we should take heart, that It was during the Bush administration, for example, that the Dream Act was initiated and resulted in the state of California granting limited privileges to undocumented students. Our efforts now should be to ensure that during Mr. Trump’s Administration we further cash in that Dream instead of giving up on it.

Peralta’s promise is to strengthen our efforts to support the achievement of our undocumented students, to welcome more of them to our Colleges, and to ensure that they are well prepared to be scientists, teachers, physicians, farmers, mathematicians, workers, politicians—all of whom will continue to enrich America.  May our faculty and staff and those who interact regularly with these students redouble their efforts to ensure their comfort and educational success at Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College and in the instruction WDCE will provide in the near future.

The Social Justice work we are committed to will not be stopped.  As someone said recently on NPR, America is not a place, it is an ideal.  I urge us all to bring substance to that ideal: a more perfect union.

Let’s keep the faith.

Sincerely,
Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D.
Chancellor

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