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About HCC

From President Royal

Messages from President Royal to the HCC community are posted here throughout the year.


January 18, 2021

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. have been much on my mind lately, as I watch our national divisions spilling onto the Capitol floors, lighting up our televisions and filling our social media feeds. The rage and fear of America's citizens is palpable.

Our nation is at a crossroads. America has delayed an honest reckoning with racism for far too long. Dr. King wrote, "The American people are infected with racism-that is the peril. Paradoxically, they are also infected with democratic ideals-that is the hope. While doing wrong, they have the potential to do right. But they do not have a millennium to make changes."

If we are to fulfill our promise as a nation and a people, it is time to make right the wrongs. We must put an end to systemic racism. We must fight for the right of every person to be treated with dignity and respect. We must explore the intersectionality of race and ethnicity with social class, ability, education, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, and other important spectrums of inequality.

Today, on the birthday of Dr. King, I urge every member of the HCC community to ask yourself what you can do to end racism and bring justice, equity and peace to the United States. Then do it, whatever it is. Read works from a variety of authors. Support candidates who stand for what you believe in. Work with others to make change in your community. Speak up and make your voice heard. 

I know how discouraging it can be to confront hatred and bigotry, but you are not alone. We are in this together, and together we can fulfill the vision of Dr. King and all those who have struggled to bring about a truly just world. There is nothing more important, and it has never been more urgent. 

While we take this day to reflect on Dr. King's life, I leave you with more of his own words: "Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

With hope,
Christina

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Christina Royal
President
Holyoke Community College

January 7, 2021

Dear HCC Community,

Like many of you, I watched in horror yesterday as our federal government was attacked. It was a frightening scene and one I never imagined we would see in the United States. I believed that the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power was a reliable feature of our democracy. The images of armed domestic terrorists storming the Capitol, threatening our elected officials as Senators and Representatives attempted to certify the election results, were both chilling and shameful. 

It is also impossible to avoid comparison with how this group of rioters and insurrectionists was treated in comparison with those who peacefully protested following the murder of George Floyd as well as other Black Lives Matter protesters. It is a potent reminder of how much work we have to do to dismantle racism in our nation.

People of conscience must not stay silent when the very fabric of our society is being unraveled. When something is wrong, we need to say so. What happened yesterday was wrong; it is inconsistent with our national values, and it is a threat to our freedom. 

In an academic year that has brought us so much fear, loss, and grief, our hearts are broken particularly with the polarization and divisiveness being felt in our nation. 

As a college, we strengthen the nation by strengthening our institution, doing our work, individually and collectively, to create an environment that demonstrates how a community of people with diverse perspectives can work collaboratively toward shared goals and support shared values.

I hope you all are safe. I hope that our country will see a transfer of power to a new President and Vice President without further violence. I hope that you can find peace. And I am grateful to each one of you, who do so much to support one another through difficult challenges, and who live HCC's values every day.

Sincerely,

Christina

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Christina Royal
President
Holyoke Community College

Dec. 17, 2020

Dear Students,

On this snowy day at the end of the fall semester, I have no doubt that you are feeling a mixture of emotions: pride in all you have accomplished, exhaustion from all you have been juggling, and everything in between. Remember to take care of yourself, now and always. It sounds simple, but now more than ever, it is so important. 

Because you are a student at HCC, you have access to FREE counseling with a licensed therapist by calling 866.640.4777 or going online at WellConnect using the School Code HCC-STU. Need help now? Text "START" to 741-741 to reach the crisis text line. 

Stay connected! Check in with your classmates via text/DM, or email. For tips on how to start the conversation, go to https://seizetheawkward.org/. If you need any help navigating HCC, please reach out to your advisor or the Advising Center.

Even though the holiday season may feel different this year, it is still a time for joy. On behalf of the entire HCC community, I wish you many joyful moments in the days and weeks ahead.

This video comes with our heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy, and joyous new year.

Stay safe and be well,

Christina

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Christina Royal
President
Holyoke Community College

Nov. 24, 2020

Dear HCC Community:

It is hard to believe that it's almost Thanksgiving and nearing the end of the fall semester. I know that for many, this will be a very different holiday. However, the spirit of gratitude seems more present to me than ever before. Throughout this strange and unpredictable year, our faculty and staff found new ways of supporting one another, staying in touch, and delivering an exceptional education – all while facing the risks and uncertainty brought on by the spread of COVID-19. I know that our faculty and staff will ensure that our students finish strong, and I'm so grateful for the care and concern you show for our students. Every single one of you understands the value of a community college education and the unique ways HCC makes a difference for our students, and ultimately, our region. 

Students, you are our heroes and our inspiration. I know that you are tired and that this pandemic has tested you. Yet your resilience has helped get us all to this point. At every turn, you adapted to a situation that was uncertain and constantly changing. You supported one another in beautiful ways. You spoke out on key issues, leading the college forward as we deepened our commitment to racial justice. This was not the semester you signed on for. Yet, you made it special and deeply fulfilling.

This pandemic has tested all of us, and continues to do so as we prepare for another semester of remote teaching, learning, and student support. So, please take time to rest and reenergize in the coming days – you deserve it. And while this pandemic is not over, I am so thankful for the ways in which our community has adapted to support our students and one another. 

Wishing you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

With sincere gratitude,

Christina

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Christina Royal
President
Holyoke Community College

Dear HCC Community,

As I am sure you know, tomorrow, November 3, is Election Day in the United States. In the 232 years since we elected the first U.S. President in 1788, we have held 58 elections, through a Civil War, two World Wars, and many other crises. All of these elections are examples of a core principle of democracy: the peaceful transfer of power.

We do not know what this year's Presidential election will hold for us. We may not even have the answer to "who won?" until days or weeks after Election Day. What we do know, however, is that we are living through a time of unprecedented political, economic, and racial division, all across the backdrop of a global pandemic. Understandably, we're all feeling varying levels of apprehension right now. This apprehension could lead some of us to question our election process and election outcomes without the ability to process in-person as a campus community. Democracy depends on adherence to the rules of the game, even if that takes time. After Election Day, we must chart a path back to national unity – both in recognizing the eventual winner and in rejecting any improper attempts to undermine the results.

We have many reasons to celebrate this election, including high rates of expected voter turnout and heroic work being done by election officials and poll workers in our communities to execute safe and secure elections during a pandemic. It's a hugely impressive accomplishment for our democracy, and the more people invested in our nation's success, the better.

If you haven't already cast a ballot by mail or through early voting, I urge you to take appropriate COVID-19 safety measures and vote before the polls close tomorrow evening. Help shape the future of our communities, state, and country. Make your voice be heard; your vote matters! We are all in this together. Additionally, I'm pleased to share the following resources:

National and State Resources:

Sincerely,
Christina

The HCC Student Senate:

Safiyah Bey, President
Carolina Pena, Vice President
Janelle Sanchez, Secretary
Maxwell Faytell, Treasurer
J. Gi, Student Trustee
Rosa Ueon
Todd Cummings
Christopher Royster
Alexa Jean-Baston

Liz Golen, Student Senate Advisor

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Christina Royal
President
Holyoke Community College