As Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, I would like to take this moment to express that as a community we stand against injustice, prejudice and intolerance at all levels. In these very unprecedented times let’s take a moment to reflect on how our daily actions can contribute to a better future of racial understanding and acceptance. Change has to be led not only through words but more importantly, through tangible actions. We can use the power and privilege of our education to work towards a more inclusive society through the work we do in the courses we teach and through our interactions with the community we belong.
With this in mind, I would like to emphatically stress that as a department we continue working towards one of our four strategic priorities that seems more important than ever as we witness the injustices that still permeate all levels of our society. We will continue to improve our record and maximize our potential to recruit and train students of diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic backgrounds, origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and physical or mental ability by more effectively showcasing our departmental and institutional strengths, and by partnering with campus offices and resources and with our local community to promote and support both our programs and students. Furthermore, we will strive to maintain and build on strong, mutually-beneficial partnerships with our community, thereby promoting a diverse and inclusive vision of underrepresented groups including immigrants in Champaign-Urbana, the state of Illinois and the rest of the US.
On this regard, I would like to close with a powerful and very appropriate quote from the great thinker and critic bell hooks, that is quite pertinent as we embark in our individual and collective journeys, as bell says, “What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.”
Mariselle Meléndez, Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese