I write to you as we look toward a new academic year, from the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and at a critical and transformative point in the long struggle for racial justice. COVID-19 has caused hardship and loss for so many, and revealed huge chasms is our social fabric. What now for each of us? What now for all of us? What now for 4W? The 4W agenda of gender equity and wellbeing is more important than ever. As we limit social interactions, wash our hands frequently, and work to meet the basic needs of our families and neighbors, we are made profoundly aware of the importance of having a home, health care, food, and water. As we face decisions around the country and world about whether to open schools, we are reminded that schools – and all of our social institutions – should be places of belonging, safety, learning, and growth. We need to be all in on transformative work for equity and racial justice. We need to exercise our civic responsibilities. And we need to engage with the humanities, literature, and the arts as if our lives depended on it. Because they do!
We are listening and amplifying the voices in our circle. The 4W community includes perspectives and lived experiences from all around the world. There is so much wisdom in this circle. At this time we are deepening our efforts to listen to and amplify these voices – our leaders, graduate scholars, campus and community voices, and the many women who have participated in our programs and spoken at our events. Please listen with us by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And please, share your own voice with us so that we may amplify that as well.
The practice of care and transformation makes us stronger. In our partnerships – at home and around the world – shared work, honesty, and friendship have been critical to achieving our goals and maintaining our strength. Despite the challenges inherent in our work, I watch the women in our circle get up every day and choose to lovingly persist. The good news is that our care, solidarity, and transformative practice are not coins that get spent. They are muscles. Rather than being depleted by frequent use, they get stronger. And the heart is a muscle too. So we carry on, knowing that because we do, there is more strength and love in the world.
The In Her Honor Chancellor’s Fund celebrates lives marked by scholarly achievement and public legacy, as well as extraordinary lives devoted to family and community. Click on the links below to read letters from the In Her Honor Fund.