TCAT Dickson and Clarksville Campuses recently held Racial and Social Injustice Panel discussions for our students and staff. Panelists included persons from different backgrounds and races who are leaders in our communities. Each panelist shared personal, intimate accounts of their lives and the lessons they learned along the way. Since the panels happened, we have had many positive comments and has led to increased open dialogue on our campus about these important issues.
President Summers indicated that this year's professional development will include information learned during the panels to raise awareness of how to recognize and handle injustices on our campuses. "It is vitally important that each student and employee feels welcomed, included, and valued at our college and it starts with us as TCAT faculty and staff and then extends to all interactions between students, between employees, and between students and employees."
The following summary represents snippets from each panelist’s testimony, that was compiled together, and summarizes the collective panel's advice.
Our society, and TCAT specifically, needs to be the change (in our world), see color, and see the differences among people. We cannot act as if discrimination does not exist or that it does not affect us personally. All people have a story and at one time or another everyone has experienced some form of mistreatment. In order to see change, we must strip away our titles and just be transparent, open-up to one another so we can share not only our differences but also celebrate our commonalities. When discrimination occurs, it hurts not only the recipient of the discrimination but also the person giving it as they are limited from learning from others and they miss out on what they have to share.
Instead, we must be willing to have conversations with our children, family, and friends; and, we must be willing to speak out if we see or hear discrimination occurring. Teach in the home, and practice in public, that treating people as we want our own families to be treated is our standard. This is not easy as we must, at times, be able to agree to disagree.
In order to learn about other cultures we must read, read, read; and when we do, we can be prepared to have conversations with everybody and anybody. We must keep ourselves open to learning and accepting other cultures by being open-minded. Do not forget where you come from but be willing to learn from others and share your story so others can learn from it.
Love should go first and this love must show in our eyes so that people can see it – we must be able to see something beautiful in everyone. Learn to see the good in people and love them for who they are.
As individuals we cannot let racism hinder us because we know that we have a bigger purpose to accomplish. We must find that we have the ability to make some of our own opportunities and come to a place where we are content with ourselves and do not feel the need to compare ourselves to others. In the end, if we help the defenseless, feed the poor, and be good Samaritans – we will be the change we want to see in the world.
Ghandi encouraged all people to “be the change we want to see in the world”. In giving of themselves, by being willing to participate in these difficult conversations, these panelists have exhibited this model. TCAT Dickson is sincerely grateful for their support.
TCAT Dickson appreciates the following individuals for serving as panelists:
Ely Dorado Safety, Health, and Environmental Manager for Dal-Tile
Jerone Holt Interim Sheriff at the Dickson County Sheriff’s Department
Chris Russell Retired CEO of CareNet Pregnancy Medical Center
Brandon Williams CEO of WavEffect, an organization to empower youth
Elizabeth Adamski Founder of CHAFF – Clarksville Hispanic American Family Foundation
Terry Jalinsky President of the Clarksville Korean American Association
Dr. Angela Jones Senior Pastor of Greenhill Church, retired teacher, and author
Samaria Mims AOT student at TCAT Dickson – Clarksville campus - student speaker