As I mentioned in my community-wide letter last Sunday, we are reaching the anniversary of Salem’s evacuation and move to remote learning. It has been a long year in many ways, but one that has reinforced my belief in the strength and resilience of Salem and its students, faculty, and staff.
Students left campus not knowing how long it would be before our campus welcomed us again as a full community. Little did we know a year ago that hand sanitizer, masks, and hand washing would take over our lives. And that Zoom classes, Zoom meetings, and Zoom gatherings would become our method for learning, communicating, and socializing.
But over this year, I have watched and learned from so many people. I have learned from leaders—each of whom deserves to be called out for all their hard work. I have learned from students—whose resilience, strength, and courage have carried them through this difficult time.
As I mentioned in my letter Sunday, I feel the echoes—in my heart, my mind, my body. Echoes that include reminders of the ongoing need to say the names of people like Breonna Taylor—who was killed on March 13 of that very same weekend that we evacuated—reminding us that these issues too require us to step forward. In this year of existential challenge, justice demands we act as well to change the systems within which we live.
On Sunday and again today, I ask that we each stop to express our gratitude to those who helped each of us get this far. I ask that we be fair to ourselves and others and recognize what and perhaps who we have lost and what we have required of one another to get here. I ask that we say to ourselves and to each other how very hard this has been and how amazed we are at how much time has passed. I ask that we remember to stop—to mourn as needed—and then to move forward with care and strength. We will never again live in a world without this year and who we have become.