January 18, 2021
Dear PTC Community,
Today we celebrate the birth and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This past Friday, Dr. King would have turned 92 years old. He did not live to see his 40th birthday. Yet in his short 39 years, he became one of the most recognizable and memorable figures of the Civil Rights Movement.
The recent riots in our nation’s Capital starkly contrast the peaceful March on Washington on August 28, 1963, where Dr. King led his followers to protest injustices without violence and where he delivered his unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech. A speech in which he stated, “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.” These are words that I encourage you to remember and abide by at this time of political unrest.
Dr. King began his “I Have a Dream” speech with the reminder that one hundred years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, people of color were still not truly free. Now, nearly three score (60 years) later, it remains true that “the riches of freedom and the security of justice” continue to be unbalanced for all Americans.
At Pittsburgh Technical College, we can and must do our part to increase awareness and rectify inequalities. We have always been an institution of higher education dedicated to our students and providing opportunity for professional, economic, and societal growth. But we can do more.
Like Dr. King, I have been asking you to dream with me. We are dreaming of ways to make PTC stronger and more relevant within our community and higher education. Our dreams have already brought about the creation of our Five-Year Strategic Plan. I draw your attention to the first of its six strategies: Expand Access. “Pittsburgh Technical College will expand student access by increasing awareness, establishing comprehensive enrollment management systems and outreach, and promoting access to specialized populations locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.” We have developed an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to celebrate and promote initiatives that build a culture of acceptance and bring together a diverse community at PTC. Governed by this office and its newly hired director is a committee inclusive of all PTC departments and focused on our Core Values of Accountability, Integrity, and Diversity and Inclusion. We have added an Outreach Success Advisor to our Admissions Team to help identify and enroll potential students from underserved populations, and are already making inroads within the foster care community. Let us continue to build on the momentum we have initiated and do more to generate kindness, understanding, and partnerships for our future.
One of the most recognizable quotes from Dr. King’s historic speech in Washington D.C. was, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” While progress is being made, the struggle continues, and again, I encourage you to look inside yourselves and determine how you can be a part of the changes that are to come.
There is strength in diversity. There is strength in PTC. Let us join together to make freedom ring and encourage education as a building block of equality.