Community Colleges Improving Lives of Families on Broadway

by on November 7, 2022 · 1 comment

in Education, From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

Just got back from
New York City,
still feeling the electricity
that wonderful town
always vibrates through me,
as I’ve never ended a trip there
without thinking
of better ways
for people to live
and this visit
was no different.

I was there

with Maria, mi querida, my lovely squeeze,

at an annual conference

of Community College trustees,

this one

having to do with

improving the lives of families

and, after

walking a couple of blocks

with a few other conferees

to see a wonderful Broadway Show

called “A Strange Loop,”

I had an awakened sensitivity

to how essential families

are to a society,

as the story’s main character,


a Black gay man


in a running joke,

writing a musical

about a Black gay man

who was writing a musical

about a Black gay man.

But his family

was intolerant

of his desire

to display his sexuality

on stage,

no matter how much

emotional pain

his being gay

had caused him to suffer,


his “lifestyle”

as a disgrace

in the eyes of the Lord,

and as the story moved forward

I found myself

laughing somewhat wildly

at times,

and wiping away tears of sadness

at other times,

wondering how

anybody could abandon

a member of their family,

a loved one,

their child,

especially one

who could write

a Pulitzer winning

and Tony winning

Broadway Play

with such finesse

and style.

Oh, we human beings

must understand

that the family

is essential

to the proper functioning

of any society.

But, fortunately,

from what I’ve seen,

community colleges

see the need

to support families

in their learning environments.

I could feel it.

In one session of the conference

a district spoke warmly

of a

LGBTQIA+ Student Bill of Rights

they were creating

to advance practices

and policies

to ensure the safety

of gay students and faculty,

and one would have to surmise

that such would lessen,

to some degree,

these people’s families’

concerns and anxieties,

allowing them to breathe

more at ease

in our country,

and I sat and listened

to someone speak on

their efforts to build an

anti-racist institution

with care and purpose

and bravery

and I heard

of an alliance to foster

inclusion and equity

as a remedy

to a decrease

in male enrollment,

mostly involving White men,

and the next day

I heard of the establishment

of an academy for Black men

which, like the efforts in Iowa,

was intent

on someone always being

available to them

for counseling and mentoring

to give them a sense of belonging,

all a boost

to empower them and their families

in their efforts to succeed in life…

And the conference

ended nicely

with an immigrant

describing her family’s journey

from Syria when she was a young girl

and she waxed eloquently

about her academic success,

to which

an outgoing chairperson said:

“That’s why we do what we do”

as he passed the gavel

to the next chair,

a Latina,

the first Brown woman

to take on such a responsibility.

What an honor

and what an addition

to the advancements

her family has made in a not

so welcoming society.

I couldn’t help leaving

this conference

and a town called

“The City of Dreams”

without my mind

throwing around ideas

of how things could be

because what I witnessed

in my stay

was evidence

that positive change

comes slowly

and gradually,

indicating we have to struggle


to create the kind of society

we need.

And the success of such a task,


could depend on

if more institutions

worked towards empowering families,

emboldening them,

freeing them

to see the key role

they could play

in the making of this

better America.

If such thinking

can be thought in New York,

it can

be thought anywhere.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Thomas L Gayton November 9, 2022 at 8:38 pm



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