To the Clark Community,
In observing Black History Month, we not only honor the achievements, courage, and resilience of the Black community in the United States and especially on our campus and in our alumni ranks but we also confront difficult truths about race in our country’s and our university’s past and present.
As a research university and liberal arts college, we must accept both the burden and the privilege to engage on issues of racism, equity, and justice deeply and critically. We must ensure that in fulfilling our mission to educate our students well—and to deepen and expand knowledge and understanding that helps change our world—that we center our work on these most fundamental of societal issues. Racism, inequity, and injustice must be faced head-on and we must all do our part to overcome them whenever we can and wherever we are.
I am very grateful to the leaders and members of Clark’s Black Student Union for all they have done and continue to do to counteract complacency about issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice on campus. I know they are not alone in this work among students, but their advocacy and their partnership with faculty, staff, administrators, and me is directly contributing to progress on our campus which we regularly announce in DEI updates, the next of which is planned for later this month.
Black History Month shines a light on the many ways Black Americans and those across the African diaspora have moved this country forward economically, culturally, and politically, and how their efforts continue to change the American landscape for the better. I hope you will all join—this month and throughout the year—in reflecting on the past and doing your part to effect a better future at Clark and beyond.
The following are opportunities over the next several weeks to join with others in such reflection. I encourage you all to participate.
- Alumni and Friends Book Club, featuring “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” on Tuesday, February 8, at 6 p.m.
- Genius Children: Honoring the Music of Black Composers on Saturday, February 12, at 7:30 p.m.
- Black in the Age of COVID. A presentation by the Clark Black Alumni Association on Friday, February 25, at 7 p.m.
- The ongoing Goddard Library display, “Before the Movement was Mainstream.”
- A special Black History Month Celebration (hosted by the Student Affairs engagement team) honoring the Black community at Clark, in Dana Commons on Wednesday, February 23, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
I am proud to honor this rich heritage of trailblazing and change-making and hope it inspires us all to continue the work to make our community stronger, fairer, and more inclusive.
David Fithian ’87