January 2021: Message from the Executive Director

January 26, 2021

Home of the Brave

One year ago, we had no idea what was ahead of us and what challenges we would face individually and as a country. 

  • An unpredictable virus that infiltrated our communities, took the lives of loved ones, and forced us to change how we gather, educate our children, conduct business, and celebrate holidays.
  • Unthinkable violence toward people of color that shook us into realizing that we can no longer turn a blind eye to the deep disparities in our country if we really believe that this is a country for all.
  • A violent mob attack, fueled by false information, on the U.S. Capitol as citizens challenged the peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of our democracy.

And then, as 2021 dawned, we were all inspired by a 22-year-old black woman, full of grace and hope, as she read her original poem, The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country. Amanda Gorman ended her invocation with the following lines:

When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

She issued a loving challenge for each of us to choose courage and be brave enough to be the light in whatever situations we find ourselves. For many of us that means bringing our light to higher education in Kentucky: 

  • Supporting all students…but making a special effort to provide opportunities for groups of students who have been excluded in the past. 
  • Paying attention…to our own growth, language, prejudices, and choices.
  • Questioning the way we have always done things and asking…do they bring justice into the world?

Students, faculty, staff, AmeriCorps members, community partners…let’s be brave enough to be the light!

To a brave new year!

Gayle Hilleke

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