Dear Mandel School Community,
As the fall semester is concluding and everyone prepares for a much-needed winter break, I wanted to take this opportunity to offer my gratitude to you, reflect on the past few months, and look to what lies ahead in 2017 for fighters for social justice.
First: My most sincere gratitude. This year has seen more milestones than any other year in our school’s 100-year history, and they were all made more meaningful because of YOU – the people who are collaborating as learners, teachers, supporters, advocates, and activists to make MSASS the strongest and most vital school it has ever been.
But we all know 2016 was also filled with some of the most profound challenges we have ever faced. We dealt with a presidential election that stunned all of us. Its outcome raises very real fears and concerns for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and the groups of disenfranchised and powerless people we serve. The Cleveland Indians making the World Series was happy for sports fans, but the team’s use of a racist logo is harmful and hurtful. And we are seeing daily assaults on the very notions of equality, diversity, inclusion, and justice that we hold dear.
Yet I recognize we live in a nation where we can make a difference, and our ability to make social change has not been diminished. This happens when we express ourselves and work with others to support our common values. We’ve been reminded that as a school, the education programs that we create and support in social work and nonprofit management are now more meaningful and necessary than ever.
I look forward to working with this strong Mandel School community in 2017 and beyond to continue our work toward a just society for all people – where everyone not only feels valued, but IS valued. We must continue to believe in the work that we do together.
During this winter break and holiday season, I hope you find moments of peace and sources of hope to rejuvenate your spirit and strengthen your soul. Because we have a lot of fighting to do in the new year.
With peace and hope,
Dean Grover “Cleve” Gilmore