The devastation visited upon the people and property on, or near, our southern border is almost beyond comprehension. Earthquakes and hurricanes have come in such rapid succession that one gropes around to find some point of comparison. Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other places in the Caribbean and Mexico all experienced natural disasters that, individually, would have constituted utter calamities. Taken together, the successive blows represent an unprecedented season of tragedy.
We are a little over a week out from the day that Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico and Governor Rosselló now warns of an impending humanitarian crisis; predictions for the restoration of power and communication lines calibrate the wait in weeks and months, rather than days. Across the Caribbean, other islands are slowly pulling themselves along the road to recovery, as are people in Texas and Florida. And, as I write this, the rescue phase of the response to the Mexico City earthquake is sadly moving into its recovery phase.
At a place like CCNY, where virtually everyone is from someplace else, we understand that tragedy anywhere in the world strikes home with particular strength. Scattered around almost every office or classroom, we have friends and colleagues with family and loved ones living somewhere in these disaster-struck places. In some cases, lines of communication are still not established enough to offer reassurances that everyone is safe. We are a community that will feel these losses in sharp and particular ways, and to this community, in this exceptionally difficult time, I want to extend my most heartfelt sympathy and support.
I’d like also to ask that each of us pay attention to the people around us—to recognize signs of sleeplessness and worry in our colleagues and classmates, and to take the time to offer support and empathy. In time, we may need to open our classrooms to students and even to faculty displaced by these storms, so that their progress toward a better future is disrupted but not derailed by these tragedies. Efforts to gather relief goods, and provide other modes of support are underway on this college. I am in conversation with one community group that would like to partner with us in hosting a relief concert, and you’ll hear more about that if it seems like the best way to provide assistance.
Once again, we are reminded that we are indeed one CCNY. As a beginning, I’m pleased to direct you to the page on WE ARE ONE CCNY that provides a list of reputable sites for donations, should you be in position to help.
In the near future, we’ll also provide regular updates about disaster assistance activities taking place on our campus or in our network. Please send information about campus-based disaster relief activities that you have finalized to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can keep the college community up to date. We will, with the help of each of you, do whatever we can to provide comfort and support to those people, near at hand and on the sites of these tragedies, most affected by these events.