Dear Fox Cities Community,
When I arrived in Appleton and at Lawrence over two years ago, I cherished the warmth and the welcome that this community offered to me. Many people had told me that the Fox Cities were special, somewhere that everyone could call home. I did not believe this was possible until I experienced it myself. Staff in the Post Office, neighbors I met on the street, community leaders, and many more extended their hands and opened their hearts to me and, I am sure to many of you.
However, events over the past few weeks also suggest that this warm and welcoming embrace is not extended to all members of our community. Many students of color, as well as those who identify as LGBT, have shared experiences with me that do not live up to our community aspirations. At times, they have been harassed and insulted on our streets and in our stores. Their experiences mirror those of other residents in our area.
Lawrence students took to the streets two weeks ago to focus our attention on our need to become more tolerant of difference. To become more inclusive as a community. I want to thank many of you who sent me messages that supported our students’ courageous efforts. But others have posted comments that underline our need to change.
I think itis time for us to include all of our residents in this warm and welcoming community. I believe that this is who we want to be. The vast majority of Appleton residents want to sustain this type of community, but we will need to work harder to reach that goal.
President, Lawrence University