Dear Sacramento City College Family:
I cannot help but think about the significance of a holiday honoring the historical significance and legacy of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr, the leader of the non-violent Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and guardian of the most sacred concepts of American democracy that—at their core, guarantee “Liberty and justice for all,” to all Americans; but as the interim president of SCC I am aware of the fact that my generation knew Dr. King. Members of my generation lived through, on a daily basis, the challenges he faced with college students college staff like yourself by his side that had committed themselves—even their lives—to force America to live up to its most sacred values and beliefs: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men (and women) are created equal.
Thus, as I reflect on the significance of January 15th, I cannot take this day for granted, or look upon it as a free day. In the end, what we, as a nation are doing is recognizing and celebrating the fact that individuals like Dr. King have forced us to see and recognize what makes America truly great: why we are the leaders of the free world and stand today as a symbolic “city upon the hill”—the most liberated country in the world where freedom of speech is more than a political slogan but, indeed, a way of life. Dr. King reminded Americans from all walks of life that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In his “I Have a Dream” speech, he reminded us that if America is to be a great nation freedom must ring from every mountainside: from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire to the mighty mountains of New York, from the heightening Alleghenies to the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado to the curvaceous slopes of California. “From every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
I am truly convinced that Sacramento City College, one of the most diverse educational institutions in the world, is a living example of the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream and of the people that fought side by side with Dr. King for our social, political and educational freedom; for everyone no matter his/her skin color, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation to realize his dream.
This is a day I, as an administrator and member of my generation, cannot take lightly. For me, it is a day of remembrance, appreciation and gratitude for fore fathers and mothers who made the American dream a reality for so many Americans who were not afforded the same constitutional rights as others. Sadly, As we march deeper into the twenty-first century, we see various forms of discrimination and toxic “isms” raising their ugly heads. We are reminded that America and Americans are determined and resilient and, as a consequence, freedom will endlessly ring.