Message from President Roberts: The passing of Congressman John Lewis

Dear Colleague,

It is with a sense of reverence and a weary heart that I share the passing of our beloved Congressman John Robert Lewis this past weekend, a great Black American. I grieve deeply for this loss to his family and for the nation he loved so tenderly. Although he lived a full life devoted to dismantling discrimination, as a nation, we still need his moral guidance. He had a heart for service and was considered the Conscience of Congress. His work continued to be relevant to every generation across the decades, fighting for voting rights, human rights, and immigration reform to name just a few of the legacy causes he supported.

Congressman Lewis spent his life putting love at the heart his work, always standing up for what was right, and true, and fair. Lewis grew up in the Jim Crow South in Troy, Alabama, just 50 miles from Montgomery, where he joined the civil rights movement that took hold throughout the South. Inspired by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks, he became the national chair of the Student National Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at the age of 23. In 1963, he spoke at the March on Washington. He had a heart for service, always speaking up and speaking out for a nation we all want.

Congressman Lewis’ entire life was about what he called getting into “good trouble, necessary trouble” that would dismantle the shackles of segregation and discrimination. But that work is not done, as Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist, so aptly said, “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”

Congressman Lewis had a dream for our nation and it is now incumbent on all of us to root out racism and inequity wherever we find it. With that in mind, within our own College, we will be working to improve governance and other instructional policies, procedures, and practices that do not lean toward supporting our students and their success.

I look forward to that work with you this coming academic year.

With sincerity,

Cheryl Roberts, Ed.D.

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