Like you, we watched the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6th with a mixture of fear and disbelief, not because the events seemed unreal—they seemed all-too-real, in fact—but because none of us imagined we would ever bear witness in this country to the kind of political violence we tend to think of as happening “somewhere else.” In the days that have passed since what can only be described as an insurrection—not least because of related events that occurred in Washington State and the State of Georgia—we have been reflecting on how we as a union should respond.
As an Executive Committee representing members from across the political spectrum, we work hard to maintain a non-partisan, pro-labor stance, focusing our efforts on protecting our contract and our members’ professional rights so that we can continue to deliver for our students the kind of stellar education that Nassau Community College is known for. Our country was founded on the tenets of free speech and the right to protest peacefully. The heightened rhetoric of January 6th, and the willingness of those who ultimately stormed the capitol to cause harm to those who do not agree with them, does not align with the values and principles of our great nation, our great union, or our respected colleagues.
As a union of higher education professionals, we are committed to the democratizing role public education plays in our society. Through our shared commitment to truth, mutual respect, equity, and inclusion, institutions like ours help provide access for more and more different kinds of people into active participation in civic life, the precise antithesis of what was on display in Washington, DC on January 6th.
We are proud to stand alongside you in support of those democratizing values during these difficult times. Let’s take this opportunity to start anew, to work together with the common goal of building a stronger union, together.
We stand stronger when we stand together.
The NCCFT Executive Committee
Donna Hope, President
Richard Newman, Vice President Classroom Faculty
Darren Petronella, Vice President Non-Classroom/Professional Faculty
Caroline Falconetti, Treasurer
Lynn Bergin, Secretary
As a native New Yorker, a 35-year veteran of NCC faculty, and a resident of Washington State, I concur completely with the NCCFT’s position. It has taken this period of national shame and horror, culminating in a coup attempt which is NOT “bloodless” as some haveclaimed andwhich is ONGOING (the coup plotters have called for a huge “action” on 17th January n DC), I once again turn to the theme which dominated my last term at NCCbefore moving out here into what has proven anepicenter of COVID19 and FASCISM20: sound the alarm! Those of us who were told that we were “hysterical” or “exaggerating” the danger of the Trump regime and its “base” can now, sadly, feel vindicated. In fact, the crisis goes much further than it needed to go. We did not “politicize” the problem: it was ALWAYS political! As teachers and intellectual workers, as unionists, and as human beings, we must mount a full frontal response to this danger. There is no other choice. If we retreat, it will be to oureverlasting shame!
Very well stated. There comes a time in our life as a nation, a crossroads, where we must remain cognizant of the need to be able to hear opposing viewpoints peacefully. Through the years, the most poignant moments that we have witnessed in politics are those moments that concession speeches were made. For it is in those moments that the beauty of democracy shines through. Such speeches place integrity over party, peaceful transition over hard fought campaigns and most of all, democracy over our ideology. Over the life of our nation, many people have faced unnecessary hardship, we don’t claim to be a perfect society but we must never surrender our efforts to better both ourselves and our nation for the people who comprise it. The barbaric acts that took place on January 6th run counter to all that we as a nation must strive to be. It is a shining example of the power of the spoken word. We as a nation face a great challenge ahead, a people greatly and deeply divided. While the task of reuniting our nation is daunting and seemingly impossible, it is a task that must reside in the hearts of all of us. Perhaps, take a moment and glance at our flag and reflect on this verse of our National Anthem, ” And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there”. That flag is our democracy and it symbolizes our ability to conquer whatever challenge is thrown at us no matter how great or small. Never forget, that our darkest hours come before the dawn. Let us hope that when these clouds of despair disperse, a brighter and more beautiful day than ever will await our nation.
Thank you, Rich, for a most eloquent response. It brought tears to my eyes. I try to focus on old symbols like our flag and national anthem but often feel these have been dragged through the mire by those fascist criminals. I would just as soon see “Lift Every Voice” installed as our second national anthem. Alongside “Our flag was still there,” let’s offer “Let us march on till victory is won.” Or a third possible song, my wife’s 1972 song, written for Cesar Chavez and the UFW. “And it’s huelga,huelga,huelga/deep in the heart of America: la lucha continuara/the struggle goes on and on.” All should feel free to choose — as long as we keep our eyes on the prize! March on till victory is won!