Response to Mass Shootings (El Paso & Dayton)

Dear ICSW Community:

How do we demonstrate courage in higher education?

After seeing the news about the horrific mass shootings that occurred in El Paso and Dayton this past weekend, I reflected upon how we, as members of the higher education community can demonstrate courage in the face of such challenging times. 

With this in mind, I contemplated what ICSW’s current role is as an institution whose mission includes a commitment to social justice. While I understand that our institution cannot force people to love or even like each other, I do believe that we can commit ourselves to educating our students and interacting with others in a manner that is compassionate, understanding, and provides agency. 

ICSW is located in a world class city that is rich with diversity and cultural differences, but also suffers from the social ills of violence and all of the isms that plague society in general. Although we can’t eradicate violence completely, making a concerted effort to being good citizens and an exemplary institution will certainly help us promote the qualities of courage, and civility.

 A quote from Brené Brown, a professor at the University of Houston and award winning author on the New York Times Best Seller List says; “Courage is contagious. A critical mass of brave leaders is the foundation of an intentionally courageous culture. Every time we are brave with our lives, we make the people around us a little braver and our organizations bolder and stronger.”

So, I ask, in light of the various challenges faced by communities across America, how do we demonstrate courage in higher education? I am hopeful that when future generations look back on the history of ICSW, and higher education in general, they will be able to say with confidence that we demonstrated courage at a critical moment in time, when it was needed most.

I look forward to a continued dialogue as we exchange ideas on courage and collectively help project ICSW as a fitting example for others to follow!


Michelle Curtain Stewart

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