We have been shocked, angered and saddened by the tragic and unjust death of Houstonian George Floyd, and we join with our community to celebrate his life and mourn his loss. This week, George Floyd will be laid to rest in Houston, but systemic racism, violence, and injustice continues to reverberate across our city and our nation.
The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies stands in solidarity with Black communities, but we must do more than stand. Our mission is to empower the community through exemplary, accessible and applicable education programs. We empower through education and, in doing so, we combat ignorance and overcome divisiveness. We exist to create and advance a community of lifelong learners who understand, value, and support one another, and our commitment to educational empowerment drives our actions.
While speaking out is vital, change requires action. With this in mind, we are actively planning a series of OpenRICE sessions beginning this fall aimed at providing education and dialogue around issues of race and inequality. We created the OpenRICE platform in March to provide relevant, timely, and free information and resources to our community regarding COVID-19. From the onset, the intention has been to transition the content of OpenRICE to other pressing issues facing our community. No issue is more pressing than structural inequality.
In addition to OpenRICE, over the next few weeks we are reaching out to faculty experts, community leaders, and staff, student and alumni leadership to seek guidance on what actions the Glasscock School can take to address these critical issues. The Glasscock School commits to internal efforts to learn and grow as a diverse organization. We commit to external efforts to continue to serve Houstonians with courses, seminars, colloquia, conferences, and programs. And we commit that these educational offerings will shine a bright and, where necessary, uncomfortable light on issues of inequality and social injustice.
The Glasscock School is dedicated to societal change through lifelong learning, and it is painfully apparent that we all have more learning to do. Our hope lies in this truth: where there are those who are willing to learn, progress follows.
Dr. Robert Bruce, Dean, Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Rice University