In a year gripped by an enduring and deadly plague, racial injustice, social upheaval, monstrous wildfires, and staggering unemployment, our faith in our future can be challenged. But I hope the stories that follow will improve that perception for you as they did for me. The Antioch spirit and our mission for social, economic, and environmental justice live on in the work of our faculty and programs and in the remarkable work of Antioch students and alumni across this nation and beyond. Through activism, social entrepreneurship, change leadership, scholarship, writing, and music, Antiochians make a difference in our world every day. We are so proud to present some of their stories of inspiration, leadership, and change for the common good. And we are proud to be educating the next generation of leaders who will further contribute to that change. It’s clear that the world needs Antioch University now more than ever.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Antioch has survived and grown. In March, as COVID-19 was bearing down on Seattle, our faculty quickly and expertly transitioned over 1,000 courses and programs to remote learning. Our effort was focused on the two-pronged mandate that we do whatever was necessary to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff while also ensuring that students suffered no interruption in teaching and learning.
Then came the senseless murder by Minneapolis police of George Floyd, who joined a long and growing list of Black citizens who have died at the hands of the very law enforcement officers who are sworn to serve and protect. His death has inspired the Black Lives Matter movement and a surge of protests demanding police reform and the end of systemic racism in all its forms. To that end, Antioch University has taken steps toward becoming an antiracist university, one willing to deeply examine the ways in which it may still be a party to the systemic racism that infects all aspects of our society, not just policing and criminal justice. I recently announced the creation of an Antiracism Task Force comprised of board members, faculty, and staff, who will lead a multi-year effort at self-reflection, introspection, change, and advocacy.
The work for social and racial justice did not end with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The work is forever ongoing. In his June 19, 1965 commencement speech at Antioch College, two months before the passage of that landmark piece of civil rights legislation which he helped author, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked:
Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social stagnation.
It is that work to which Antioch and Antiochians must continually and persistently rededicate themselves. But we need your help. We depend on your support to educate the next generation of social activists and progressive thinkers who will carry on and extend the work of the many who came before them. We especially need your help with scholarships for low-income students. They are our collective future, and by investing in Antioch, you are investing in the future of a fair and just society.
It will not “roll in on the wheels of inevitability.” It requires our concerted effort as Antiochians.
William R. Groves, J.D., Chancellor