Update from the President Jan. 28, 2021

Jan. 28, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

I’m thrilled to welcome you to Noma News, Sonoma State’s brand new monthly newsletter, which we are launching at the start of an already invigorating new year. Our return to SSU for the spring semester has coincided with many recent encouraging developments for our broader regional community, including the ongoing vaccination effort against COVID-19, the emergence of our county from the state stay-home order, and the return of much-needed rain to our beautiful North Bay. I’m filled with hope as I reflect on these positive steps forward, and I'm reminded of the words a young poet recently composed:

“For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
if only we’re brave enough to be it"

Last week, when Amanda Gorman read these lines from her incredible poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration ceremony, I felt both inspired and optimistic. The inspiration came from the vision and the joy that Ms. Gorman conveyed through her words, and that I have long seen in the determination and hard work of her generational peers – our Sonoma State students. The optimism came from the peaceful transfer of power to our country’s new presidential administration, and from witnessing the swearing in of Vice President Kamala Harris, who has now marked several historic milestones as the highest ranking woman in our country’s government, and as the first woman, the first Black person, and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the vice presidency.

This week – as our students, professors, and instructors have rejoined each other on Zoom for spring coursework, and as our staff members continue their tremendous effort to manage their work responsibilities both virtually and in-person – that spirit of inspiration and optimism has grown even stronger.

Despite the pandemic, our students are still continuing to make progress towards their dream of a college degree. In tandem with the entire CSU system, we are still anticipating a return to in-person coursework in the fall. And here on campus, we are still working to dismantle systemic racism and foster reconciliation in our Sonoma State community. As part of this vital ongoing effort, we will begin our campus programming to celebrate Black History Month in just a few days. I encourage you to join us for many of the events, including the opening ceremony on Monday evening.

We still face challenges ahead, but the days are already a little bit brighter. I hope you feel a little bit of the same inspiration and optimism that I do, and I hope you take heart from the moving words Ms. Gorman read aloud from her powerful poem.

Our own poem for 2021 – the poem being created each day by the actions of our caring, compassionate, and courageous Sonoma State community – is just getting started.

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki