President’s Message To Staff and Students
Dear Saints, Both Staff and Students:
The past several weeks have been grim ones for Canada. Despite encouraging trends in the battle against the pandemic, our hearts have been broken by the news of the discovery of an inconceivable number of mass graves at the Indigenous residential schools and the unspeakable and inexplicable recent deaths of four members of the Afzaal/Salman family in London.
It is completely appropriate and necessary for us to mourn the innocent victims of these vile episodes and to demand justice for them from those responsible for these tragedies. And I suspect that, like me, many of you are feeling frustrated and disappointed with our society, expressing and sharing these thoughts with family and friends and even in our educational setting, whether teacher-to-student, student-to-counsellor and student-to-student. It is through all of these conversations that we try to find some explanation – gain some understanding – try to find some reasoning – for what has occurred.
St. Clair, I think, also has an important role to play in combatting such prejudice and malevolence in our society. We are, after all, a microcosmic community of a truly global, multicultural, religiously diverse composition, with our thousands of students and staff representing over sixty of the world’s nations and several dozen faiths.
It should be our deliberate and conscientious task to celebrate that multicultural mosaic at every opportunity, both by casually striking up conversations and friendships with those from different backgrounds than our own, and by formally exploring one another’s cultures with awareness and entertainment events. Our student organizations have done a great job of the latter, albeit this year it was done in a virtual format, seeking to teach us all a little something about our different cultures. As we move back toward being in-person on campus, I have no doubt they will bring their in-person events back as well, which will allow us to celebrate our difference – and our similarities – together.
I hope what I'm suggesting is not too simplistic or naïve. I truly do believe that St. Clair can be a shining example of Canada – of the world – as we desperately want it to be: peaceful, respectful, accepting and, yes, loving.
Perhaps our efforts to strive toward that in our own community will help to ease the pain we experience when we view disturbing occurrences in the world-at-large. And perhaps our efforts to develop and enhance harmony at the College will be a mindset that we can take into that world-at-large, as an ultimate cure for its destructive, mindless and all-too-frequent disunity.
As is true of almost every widespread problem, the solution begins with our own individual attitude, followed by a gradually expanding, community-by-community effort to simply “be better, to do better”.
As a spurring response to the recent incidents that have shocked and saddened us all, let that attitude and that effort begin today, in your lives and that of St. Clair College.
Stay well, Saints.
Patricia France, M.Ad.Ed.