It is another stormy afternoon in Little Egypt. I just enjoyed a wonderful walk on campus and I am in my customary high spirits that another academic year is to begin next week at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale! Indeed we are in the midst of our pandemic, but there are lighthouses that still have their brilliant beacons of hope for the future and they are illuminating our course to keep us from being dashed against the rocky shore!
I am pleased to see the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States chose as his running mate a brilliant and accomplished woman of color! The choice is historic and is a harbinger of hope that we are a diverse nation that desperately needs a herculean dose of inclusivity!
I was talking with a good friend recently and I reflected on my leadership goal for the 25 years that I was a manger/administrator at SIUC. Before I became the assistant superintendent of Building Services I had prided myself on everyone that I met becoming my friend. After I took a leader’s role in the organization I knew that my primary purpose had to be that I was fair to all…and that I might not be everyone’s buddy. My greatest honor during my years of managing was to have some role in elevating outstanding members of our team, who were African American and women and disabled, to leadership roles. When I was preparing to retire I recommended an African American woman to replace me as superintendent of the department. And she did… she was the first woman of color to ever hold the position!
Dr. Austin Lane is our new chancellor. Every time that I see his photo…I am inspired…he is the first African American to hold the chancellors position at SIUC!
I have written about my wonderful experiences with black colleagues…literally from the first day of my employment at Southern. Each time that a person of color has chosen to accept me as a colleague and to work with and to be my friend…I was humbled by their confidence in me and honored that they accepted me…
Faith is another beacon of hope in a world of seeming despair. I have often said…can anyone find the church? Jesus and his 12 disciples were our first example of church. It appears that on numerous occasions they slept out under the stars… ‘And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.’ Luke 9:58 KJV
I do know that the church is not equated to the love of money. It also cannot be led by a person or people who are racist and misogynist…it could not be xenophobic…as Christ admonished us to love each other as he loved us.
I have often heard that if you want to see God…see your neighbor…