Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Hello, my Valencia family.
First, I am so excited to see another day, week and month. Here we are in June and as I have said every month, I am a different kind of president. In this month’s message, I want acknowledge Juneteenth, our LGBTQ Valencia family, new faculty ombuds representation and a few other words of thanks and acknowledgement.
According to the Atlanta History Center, “Juneteenth is a celebration marking an end to slavery in the United States. Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, very few people were immediately freed. A full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two long months after Richmond fell, the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were pronounced free people. That momentous date, June 19, 1865, has been proclaimed Juneteenth and celebrated annually ever since.”
Valencia College has been so phenomenal in celebrating Juneteenth, and I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful family that is always in the forefront of speaking out and recognizing history. Thank you to the outstanding leadership team for the fantastic celebrations going on throughout this month on our campuses.
As I watched my friend and brother Eugene Jones, executive dean, Downtown Campus, explain the history of Juneteenth it brought sheer joy to my heart. He stated it so well at the start of his talk by saying, “It’s a celebration but also a somber time of remembrance in the African American community.” He really explained this point in history very well. Thank you so much Eugene for sharing with us.
Staying in tune with the Juneteenth observation, I had the opportunity along with my Valencia family to enjoy learning more about this historical day from Tiffany Packer, Ph.D., who was in her own rights a phenomenal historian, as she spoke to the College on Thursday, June 17, 2021. She was awesome with sharing the history, and her words drew a picture of the event and the history surrounding it. I was fascinated and cannot wait to see this outstanding woman in person. Thanks to the Lauren Thomas, professor, mathematics, and Terri Graham, interim president, West and Downtown Campuses, for hosting this fantastic event. I also want to thank the African Heritage Association and the Senior Team for bringing this speaker to us. She shared a wealth of information, and the students in attendance posed awesome questions to her.
June is a busy month of many celebrations, including the recognition of the LGBTQ community during Pride Month. I simply wanted to express to the Valencia LGBTQ community, thank you for all that you do to bring a wonderful positive light to Valencia the family. This month’s celebrations have been spectacular, and the energy always brings love and unity throughout the Valencia College campuses and the Orlando community.
Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. senator says it best, “There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now OK to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.” Continue to shine and make a difference in the lives of people you encounter daily.
I would be remise not to mention the observance of the Pulse sadness and the beautiful souls that we lost on that day. Sometimes our eyes and hearts cannot understand why some things happen. However, in the greater works, there must be a message that we can learn from tragedy. Let us stop and take just a moment of silence to recognize those persons that we lost and know that there will always be a positive energy representing those lost on that day.
Well as I continue with acknowledgements, let us send a huge thank you to Anna Saintil, professor, student life skills, for serving in the role of ombuds representative for three years. She was phenomenal and words cannot express how we feel about her. Thank you so much for a job well done.
We would like to welcome in the role of faculty ombuds representative two powerhouse individuals, Ramon Velez-Cruz, faculty, New Student Experience, and Ann Heiny, Faculty, New Student Experience, West Campus. I am so excited to work with these two fantastic professors and welcome the wealth of experience they will bring to position.
For those not aware of what a faculty ombuds representative does and who can hold the position, this role — occupied by a full-time faculty member — is as an advocate of the dispute resolution process and provides support, guidance and feedback to employees who are having difficulty resolving conflicts.
My time as Faculty Council president will be ending next month, and I will step into the role of past president. I have learned a great deal in this position, and the Senior Team has truly been my backbone through my bout with cancer. I will share thanks next month as well in my last message and if you know me personally, I am a very emotional person and actually tearing up as I type this portion of my message. I am grateful and thankful for this wonderful experience and honor.
As always, make it a great day, week and month and always make a positive difference in the lives of others. Feel free to contact me via email for any questions and or concerns.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me via text at 407-529-6595 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.