Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Standing Together

        Thanksgiving has come early this year for us. Two more colleges within the Colorado Community College System have formed AAUP chapters: Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood and Community College of Denver. We hear through the grapevine that others are about to be announced. Our work is bringing real community back to Colorado’s community colleges.  

        “I’ve been talking for a long time about leadership from the bottom and I’m convinced perfectly that it’s happening, and [that] the leadership consists of people who simply see something that needs to be done and they start doing it,” observed poet and activist Wendell Berry. “We don’t have a right to ask whether we’re going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is: 'What’s the right thing to do?'"

         We salute our colleagues for thinking like Berry and for taking to heart the lessons of self-empowerment, civil liberty, and social justice that we teach some of this state’s most disadvantaged students. As their teachers, we know that before they can be informed citizens, they must first know how to find necessary information and how to make sense of what they discover. As parents, we know that before children can walk, they must first crawl. As awakened activists, we know that before we can march, we must first stand.  

       CONGRATULATIONS to our colleagues, who stand with us to preserve the profession, to advocate for academic freedom, to insist on shared governance, and to fight for wage and benefit equity. We feel that much stronger, knowing we stand now with one another in Colorado, and shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of others in this profession throughout the AAUP.

            “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb