June is Pride Mentoring Month
The National Mentoring Partnership has designated June as Pride Mentoring Month. This project primarily focuses on lifting up a movement built upon fighting for equality and acceptance for all. As we commemorate "Pride," we must remember that Pride started with a protest. The Stonewall rebellion was a protest led by people of color that sought to defend the LGBTQ+ community from police brutality ~ which is so resonant today. To learn more about the #MENTORPride campaign and how you can get involved, visit www.mentoring.org/pride.
“The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, was a stark reminder to all of us: people of color are not safe in America. In seeking to make sense of such a senseless act, a former colleague found himself reflecting on the meaning of empathy. He wrote, as defined by Merriam-Webster, “empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” He concluded with, “If we would simply have the emotional intelligence to understand what another person is feeling or experiencing, it could be the bridge to solving numerous issues in American society.”
In the coming weeks, take time to reflect and see where it leads you. If you are inclined, share your thoughts with us and we will post them to our website. Following is a statement from ACE President Ted Mitchell.
STATEMENT BY ACE PRESIDENT TED MITCHELL ON RACIAL VIOLENCE AND INJUSTICE
"We live in a nation where life, liberty, and justice are supposed to be the birthright of all. But for too many those words are laced with cruel irony and frustration in the face of seemingly intractable discrimination. Racism is always a form of violence: against the spirit, the intellect, and the soul. And as we witnessed anew last week, the violence of racism frequently becomes physical. George Floyd’s murder was horrific and cannot be tolerated or explained away any more than the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others can be. Neither can the underlying and systemic racism that makes everyday life a fight for Black Americans. Indeed for too many Americans, just taking a drive to the store or going jogging in their own neighborhood is an experience filled with fear and trepidation.
Those of us who are white do not know that fear, but we must try to understand it and recognize the wounds of those who endure it. But more, we must reject the bigotry and ignorance that is at the root of the violence that is racism. We must act now to ensure justice, eradicate racialized practices, and work to build communities that embrace diversity and celebrate inclusion.
At its best, that is a part of the work higher education does and must do. At its best, higher education has a profound civic purpose and stands for our highest aspirations as a nation. At their best, our campuses are places where all perspectives and beliefs are respected, and all races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and sexual and gender identities embraced. But we are not at our best. Let’s be clear: Black students are less likely to graduate than their white peers, need to borrow more to fund their education than white students, and often suffer serious incidents of racial abuse.
We can and must do better. We can start by acknowledging that, like so many Americans today, members of our campus communities are hurting and scared. We can start by reaching out to them. The murder of George Floyd is only the latest terrible example of racial violence in our country, and it comes in the midst of a global pandemic that is serving to further expose the racial inequities and economic fault lines that have long plagued us.
The time to right systemic and ongoing wrongs is long past due. The time for listening is now. The time to help members of our communities is now. The time to act is now."
First and foremost, we hope this message finds you safe and well. Leaning into our new normal will require continued caring, courage, and connection. As shared by our State Chair Kimberly Hurns in her message to all us last week, our network is more important than ever.
Part of our virtual outreach going forward will include starting your week with a dose of inspiration. With that, Welcome to Mentoring Mondays . . . where we will share creative ideas, words of wisdom, professional development opportunities and quips that will make you smile.
Should you have something you’d like us to publish via Mentoring Mondays, please forward to Martha Grier, Professional Development Chair, at [email protected]
Leadership Lessons Hidden in the Coronavirus Crisis
Needless to say, the past few months have challenged our way of thinking, leading, and way of life. As we continue to navigate this time of uncertainty and chaos, we should find ways to turn this “lemon into lemonade” and identify the potential gifts of leading in a time of hardship. I have taken excerpts from an article in Academic Impressions, a higher education publication, and changed its focus to fit the leadership for any organization, whether educational or corporate. Please note these five gifts:
- The Gift of Clarity on What Matters: While much is unclear now, it is apparent that most businesses and organizations have demonstrated that what matters is the safety and well-being of people. The financial perils of having to suspend normal operations, has caused us to identify a new normal – a new mode of maintaining operations remotely. We have learned valuable lessons that may (or may not) lead to new ways of leading and sustaining longevity.
- The Gift of a Renewed Focus on Community: We have a renewed sense of community – reaching out and supporting one another. Of all the lessons we can take away from this experience, this might have the longest-lasting effect on us as individuals. We have seen people come up with creative ways to support our health care professionals and first responders – we have chosen to support each other as opposed to turning inwardly and becoming selfish.
- The Gift of Strategic Surrender: To be clear, no one has given up. However, we have listened to local and global experts and then decided how we should relinquish what we know and cling to as “normal” and strategically surrendered our autonomy in order to act on behalf of the common good.
- The Gift of Listening: We have had to listen and rely upon external input. With intention, we have listened, with compassion to hear the hope, flaws and vulnerability in all proposed options and solutions. There is a gift in learning to listen genuinely, with bravery and purpose.
- The Gift of Imperfection: No matter how we chose to proceed, it may not be perfect. To quote another higher education publication author referred to as “Dean Dad,” “One good often conflicts with another, and choices are inevitably made among flawed options, in imperfect conditions, with limited information.”
These are difficult times and the journey is not over. We wish you courage, strength and grace as we move forward.
Martha J. Grier
Professional Development Committee Chair
Source: Academic Impressions, a higher education publication, article by Many Dana Hinton, President of the College of Saint Benedict.