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President’s message on the current crisis

We remember vividly, when on March 13, 2020, we had just made the decision to transition our on-ground classes to online, due to a virus that had been posing a health threat in other parts of the world.  Over the next 2.5 months, this virus, known as COVID-19, became a once-in-a-century pandemic.  It attacked the lungs, and it made breathing difficult. How ironic that, over the past memorial weekend, “breathing difficult” became news again.  George Floyd was arrested, handcuffed, and held down on the ground, the knee of a police officer on his neck, as he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”  The image of George Floyd’s death was excruciatingly painful for all of us to watch.  Most of us simply could not control our emotions as we reflected: why are they doing that?  Aren’t they supposed to protect us, not harm us?

At ASA College, we believe in a better future – in hope against all odds – and our collective performance over the last semester has shown us that even the myriad challenges posed by a global pandemic cannot overcome the will and resourcefulness of students, faculty and staff dedicated to achieving this better future. Every course completed, every earned final grade, represents a great accomplishment, and we wish that these achievements were the story of our time, but sadly they are not.

In the face of all that has happened subsequent to the lawless death of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, we cannot say a better future is possible for anyone unless we all confront the racism that has permeated our culture and institutions since the inception of our nation.

We all must accept that the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are not unfortunate isolated incidents. There is no coincidence that George Floyd’s dying words echoed those of Eric Garner. This story, the story of Emmett Till who was lynched as a 14 year old in 1955, the story of Trayvon Martin who was murdered as a teen in 2012, is the story of Black Americans being denied their constitutional and human rights because our culture and institutions have been in part designed to do so. We must accept that this is the truth, and it must make us both sad and angry.  At the same time, this truth must also motivate us.

It is important to express our outrage and desire for change in accordance with our First Amendment rights. We must continue to bring about the society that we deserve through our lives and our careers. Over eighty percent of ASA College students are people of color; our Legal Studies Division graduates proud members of many law enforcement agencies. We can be the change we want to see in the world if we continue to employ our will and resourcefulness, and never again hide from uncomfortable truths.

Jose F. Valencia, CPA

President
ASA College

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