Directions for facing the ongoing pandemic are clear. “Stay home. Stay safe.” At the same time, we children of the sixties know the power of protesting and praying with our feet. Whether you have followed the COVID-19 guidelines or donned masks and marched in the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbrey, Freddie Gray, and far too many others, there are ways we can both shelter in place and join the urgent call to action. Here in Charleston, a local rabbi, Stephanie Alexander, suggested that those who were so moved, but could not safely participate in peaceful protest, instead engage the power of the pen. She called for us to participate in “Armchair Advocacy,” and use the art of letter writing to make our voices heard and our concerns known to those with decision-making power. Write. There is no dearth of topics we could address. Follow your conscience and your heart. Every letter, email, and phone call counts. Hear this as a call to action.
In addition to letter writing, there are many ways we can respond to the call to action. Find an online program and become a mentor or tutor to students and/or junior faculty. Make lunches for the homeless that can be picked up or delivered without person to-person contact. Train to be a counselor using text messages as a way to reach out to those in crisis. Consider checking in with former colleagues who would likely enjoy sharing friendly reflections and updates. Whatever you choose to do, express your caring through action.
At the most recent meeting of the Wisdom Institute Board, members heeded the call to action and voted unanimously to support Retriever Essentials. Retriever Essentials provides food, toiletries, and other essential supplies to students in need free of charge. As faculty and staff, we have always been dedicated to our students and their success. We remain committed to our students and decided we will use Retriever Essentials as one vehicle for providing continued support. When we can meet face-to-face again, we will collect food and whatever else students need to get through these difficult times. In the meantime, we have pledged monetary support knowing that our students will get what they need through this program. We urge you to join us and donate whatever you can afford to give.
To make a secure credit card donation to Retriever Essentials use the university’s giving site, http://support.umbc.edu, and note “Retriever Essentials” in the space marked “Other Designation.”
If you prefer, make checks payable to the UMBC Foundation and note, “Retriever Essentials” in the memo line.
Mail checks to: UMBC Foundation, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250
There is no time like the present to bring all the assets of our wisdom, experience, and resources to bear on social issues.
Together we can make a difference.
Walking Routes – Get out and get some fresh air while maintaining social distancing
CAHSS Response to COVID-19 with resources
UMBC Review – Check out current and past issues for interesting articles
myUMBC Events across campus
Association of Retiree Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE) Newsletter – Information from academic retirement organizations