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Kimberly Hurns, state chair
The MI-ACE Network for me has always been a safe place, a courageous place where we nurture and support authentic leaders. Therefore, it was not surprising to me that as an African-American woman, board members reached out to me personally to honor the challenge that is taking place in my own home. I am married to a black man, I am raising a black son, and for the last few days, I have had to push aside anger and frustration and continue to lead and get my job done with an added weight. The weight is somewhat constant —it ebbs and flows but it never goes away. It simply sits there as an added reality to my story of being Black in America.
I don’t find it ironic that this past week of incidents were a bit different than the many incidents of the recent past — the entire context of each situation was captured on video and everyone was a witness to the realities that we live with every day. As women who network to support each other, I hope we really think about the Central Park incident and the power that was leveraged in a telephone call. For many of us that telephone call was analogous to words like threatening and abrasive as well as emails with multiple people included. We must recognize the power of microagressions and how they multiply and turn into Amy in the park or police matters that end worst. We are suffering and it is compounding.
As women (and women of color), we know this experiment called America was wrong in its inception because we had to amend the document it was founded upon. We have more work to do but it starts with each of us first being honest with ourselves. People of color cannot change racism. Let us not stop talking, sharing and learning from one another. Let’s be better in our educational institutions to learn from the young people who want this country to deliver on its promise. It’s their future and we owe it to them to support their vision and the promises that have been made but not kept.
I wish grace to all of my sisters who are dealing with this stress in mental and physical ways — breathe! I wish grace to all of my sisters who do not know how to start the conversation with friends and colleagues, there is no right way to start hard conversations. However, our country depends on us all to create a different future. Network requires WORK.
Vice President for Instruction
Washtenaw Community College
July 20, 2020
Kerri Langdon, a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration program at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, is conducting qualitative dissertation research on female community college administrators.