Agents of Change in Challenging Times

Hatred fueled by access to assault weapons has struck once again at the heart of a community represented across our Community Learning Partnership network. We join in solidarity with our friends in colleges and community-based organizations throughout the country, grieving the direct attack on gay, Latino young people in Orlando. This only reverberates in a year of bold violence against people from walks of life that we recognize as our own: Black church leaders gunned down in Charleston; students and their teacher murdered during class at Umpqua Community College; and developmental disability workers in San Bernardino struck down at their holiday party.


And those are just some of the most prominent stories of the past year. An average of 91 people die from gun violence every day in America.

What does it mean to be an agent of change in the face of such insanity?

As we educate and train people to be part of the solution, more deeply, as students share in their own words, we remind ourselves that what we cultivate is the power and capacity to act, rooted in the range of experiences and emotions that injustice stirs.

Love was one of the more universal and hopeful words to emerge from Orlando as the shock of Saturday night became all too real on Sunday morning. We heard it from the mayor of Orlando, the owner of the Pulse nightclub, and from shattered friends and family members.

“We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger, ” Lin-Manuel Miranda said in a sonnet offered on Sunday evening in acceptance of his Tony Award. “Love is love is love is love is love, and love cannot be killed or swept aside,” he cried.

“Now fill the world with music, love and pride.”

We have much work to do, with the strength of our outrage, our knowledge and our skills, in solidarity with those who lost their lives in Orlando. And in Charleston, Umpqua, San Bernardino and beyond.







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