Northeast Mississippi Community College president Dr. Ricky G. Ford has issued the following statement concerning events happening in the United States, around the world and Black Lives Matter.

Northeast president Dr. Ricky G. Ford stated:

“... On behalf of our Northeast family, I would like to share a few thoughts and suggestions during this time.

Our staff, students and alumni are shocked and disturbed by the killing of George Floyd and subsequent events in the United States. It feels as if it was just yesterday that we were expressing similar sentiments in regard to Ahmaud Arbery, only now, to witness another tragic, senseless murder. It is heartbreaking to see the hurt and to feel the flames of pain and outrage that have been stoked and fueled for centuries ... all accumulating into the wildfire of emotions we are now experiencing.

This tragedy, unfortunately, is not an isolated event. Brutal behavior is unacceptable, but has been tolerated for far too long. The lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, and countless others mattered. Black lives matter.

We, at Northeast Mississippi Community College, are concerned about equal treatment for our students, faculty and staff, and strive to create an inclusive environment for all. We demand justice, equity, and accountability across our nation and on our campuses. We ask that you reach out to our administration regarding what you would like to see from NEMCC as an institution, and discuss with us how we can all work better together in the future.

At Northeast Mississippi Community College, we are committed to moving our campus forward in alignment with justice. To our fellow black students … we see you … we hear you and we support you. We pledge to constantly challenge our norms to ensure that you are able to take full advantage of your educational career and opportunities around you. We are committed to supporting each other meaningfully and we stand in solidarity.

We reaffirm our commitment to make the time to support black students, faculty, and staff – not just at this time in history, but permanently. We all must pledge to consider the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of all minority Americans, and contemplate what it’s like for them to navigate this world and our campus communities.

Do not sit back, and do not remain silent. We ask that everyone contemplate what contribution they can make in the ongoing fight against injustice, and toward the collective effort of developing a more ethical society than the one in which we were reared.

Our elected officials cannot legislate a solution to this issue. We, as citizens of Mississippi – indeed, our entire nation – must take a step back and examine our own hearts. In the process of reflection, we must resolve to have a heart of understanding, love, and respect for all human beings – regardless of their nationality or the color of their skin. Only when we can view this issue with empathy and compassion, can we then come to the table and have those discussions that will move our nation forward – together.

All people and values are central to our institution. Make no mistake – we will never accept discrimination in any form. We stand ready to support anyone who has been affected by discrimination. Our counseling and support services are available to all students.

Northeast Mississippi Community College supports Black Lives Matter and we will continue to advocate for meaningful, positive change in America until every person is respected regardless of the color of their skin.”

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