MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

At the annual September 11th Remembrance Ceremony this week, each speaker referenced the unity that the tragic events of this day created in the days, weeks, and months after. Our keynote speaker, MCC alumnus and former NYPD Officer Paul Dondorfer was among the first responders in New York City on 9/11. He spoke movingly about the kindness that New Yorkers showed first responders like him and to each other in the aftermath of the terror attack. Their need to connect, to show gratitude, to form community outweighed everything else. Strangers became neighbors and friends who saw their greatest responsibility as caring for and about others. Officer Dondorfer asked us to imagine what we could accomplish if we resolved to put aside differences and embraced a generosity of spirit every day--not just in the wake of such tragedies.

The months leading up to the start of fall have provided us striking images of a nation filled with difference and division. We've seen marches by torchlight that celebrated anti-Semitism and racism, and peaceful gatherings broken by violence. Yet, at the same time, we have witnessed actions at the individual level that remind us of the humanity that unites us: flotillas of everyday heroes who rescued complete strangers from rising flood waters; leaders setting aside partisan differences to condemn hate and support Dreamers. On a very human level, we recognize that--if we are to move forward and tackle the global challenges facing all of us--we need each other. There is true strength in our diversity.

As we begin this academic year, I encourage all of us to embrace the diversity that makes our community powerful, creative, energizing, and resilient. The mission of our College is grounded in opportunity, equity, and inclusiveness. Each of us brings perspectives, ideas, concerns, solutions, and challenges that are borne of individual experiences--and together, we broaden our capacity, vision, and horizon by seeking out, listening to, and working with those whose journeys have been different from our own. MCC is at its best when we live our responsibility to each other.

On October 4, the Campus Activity Board, SGA, SEGA, and the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Project are sponsoring presentations by Ken Nwadike, Jr., at both the Brighton and Downtown campuses. Ken is the founder of the Free Hugs Project, which grew out of a simple gesture he made at the Boston Marathon in 2014, the year after the horrific bombings that shocked the nation. When he failed to make the 2014 marathon, he decided to stay and offer "free hugs" to those running to show his support. The reception he received made it clear that he had chanced on a very human way to promote peace and goodwill. In Ken's words, "A friendly embrace will put a smile on your face." The Free Hugs Project now seeks to de-escalate violence at protests, riots, and rallies--all through an act of kindness that reminds us of the connection we have to each other and to the greater good.

I hope you will look for information about Ken Nwadike, Jr.'s visit; connect with the many groups, offices, and programs at MCC that promote our value of inclusiveness; and continue to strengthen the fabric of our College community. Do you have thoughts about other ways we can work together to build understanding and community? Please share them on the blog, by email to me, or through the anonymous portal.

Kress, Anne
President's Office