Today is an important time in our country for reflection. September 11 remains a day that not only changed America’s future, but changed the world. Many of us may take a few moments of our day to consider where we were that morning, the many lives lost, and the heroic acts of individuals across the country, representing all races and backgrounds, coming together to save lives, support one another and rebuild our country. I encourage you to take a moment to reflect and honor those who lost their lives, as well as those who were left behind with their lives permanently changed.
In the past week we have heard news of many troubling events occurring across our country that call for great concern for our people, their safety and well-being. From intensified forest fires taking place across the west coast, the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and Hurricane Irma pushing through to Florida and the southern states, there are many in need, having lost their homes and possessions, and many who may find themselves in a similar situation before long. Distressing events are not exclusive to our own country and community, but happen daily across the globe. It can be overwhelming and difficult to process and make sense of each day.
It’s important for Trocaire College to acknowledge the current events we live with and to turn to our Mercy roots in times of crisis and concern. This strong foundation is what can help us make sense of a confusing and turbulent world, and provide us with direction regarding how we can provide support, create positive change and ensure a dignified life for all, no matter the circumstances.
Honoring the mission of our institution and in the spirit of our founders, the Sisters of Mercy, Trocaire College will be donating $1,500–representing our approximately 1,500-person student body–to Catholic Charities disaster relief efforts. This donation is on behalf of our students and employees, and is intended to support disaster relief efforts across the country where and when they are needed most. We felt it very important to make a contribution to those in need, and encourage our entire campus community to learn more about how they can get involved to help make a difference.
We have also heard word this week of the Trump Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after six months. Over 800,000 youth, referred to as Dreamers, received protection from the DACA program since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. DACA provided no legal status or government benefits, but did provide recipients with temporary employment authorization to work in the United States and reprieve from deportation.
With that said, I wish to share this message from our founders The Sisters of Mercy regarding this week’s decision affecting Dreamers. The Sisters of Mercy spoke out this week stating, “The announcement by the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program represents an historic injustice and a violation of the human dignity of over 800,000 young people, while diminishing us all as a nation.”
Echoing our founders and my fellow higher education leadership in Western New York and across the country, I’d like to take this opportunity to express disappointment in this DACA-related announcement, and reinforce Trocaire’s commitment to an inclusive, safe and welcoming college community.
As I stated in February when the President’s Executive Order on immigration was signed, our heritage encourages us not to simply stand by as immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups are targeted. Mercy stands in solidarity with them and will continue to serve and defend Dreamers, immigrants and refugees in their local communities. Students from nations other than our own enrich our higher education institutions and our communities, and therefore I encourage our students and employees to learn more about the timely immigration issues we face, and to participate in related advocacy.,
Thank you to everyone on campus for working together to build a strong college community, full of welcoming spirit and passion for education. Trocaire College is a very special place. It’s a small close-knit community of people who embody our mission and the values of our founders, in everything they do each day. I am glad each of you is a part of it, and look forward to our continued hard work and success.
Trocaire President Bassam M. Deeb