A Message From Andrew Cleeland, CEO of the Fogarty Institute, on Diversity

“The struggle is always there. It gets discouraging sometimes. Some of us are trying to build a temple of peace. We speak out against war, we protest, but it seems that your head is going against a concrete wall. It seems to mean nothing. And so often as you set out to build the temple of peace you are left lonesome; you are left discouraged; you are left bewildered.

Well that is the story of life. And the thing that makes me happy is that I can hear a voice crying through the vista of time, saying: ‘It may not come today or it may not come tomorrow, but it is well that it is within thine heart. It’s well that you are trying.’ You may not see it. The dream may not be fulfilled, but it’s just good that you have a desire to bring it into reality. It’s well that it’s in thine heart.” — Martin Luther King’s final address on April 3, 1968

Like most of you, I am reeling from the tragic death of George Floyd and the aftermath playing out across our country. Unfortunately, the issues are not new; they run deep and are profoundly disturbing – systemic prejudice and inequality, whether measured in terms of race, gender or economics. This on top of a global pandemic, unemployment at levels unheard of since the Great Depression and a looming recession – our society is hurting; we are hurting; and some sadly, are carrying heavier loads.

Over half a century later, Martin Luther King’s dream remains unfulfilled. With deep respect, I wonder today whether desire alone – to have it in our hearts – is still enough.

Many of us are struggling to understand how to respond – how to both acknowledge our culpability and to identify our role in building Martin Luther King’s temple of peace.

While I’m still working out how Andrew Cleeland – the human being – is going to respond, as CEO of the Fogarty Institute I can say this with conviction and the full support of my team:

We believe in equality.

We believe in diversity; not just in race or gender, but in expression.

We believe in being open-minded and truly listening – genuinely trying to understand all perspectives. We are students of life, perpetually seeking to expand our understanding of the world and the people who share it with us.

We believe that life is complex, and that oversimplification is lazy and dangerous.

We believe that our society is fundamentally good – the temple is within our hearts – but that it needs to continue afresh along the path to realizing the dream.

We believe in the power of words – but teach that words need to be supported by action.

We reaffirm to you that we will live and pass along these values. In addition, we commit to determining how we can evolve our mission to best do our part in building the temple of peace.

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