A date which will live in infamy | Moment's Notice

By Maria Montalvo | Dec 07, 2017

December 7th, the date the edition of this newspaper is issued, is a day of innumerable consequential and inconsequential acts across the globe over centuries, most of which are not recognized or even remembered by those who participated in them.

If you look in the history books (or on Google), it is the day that Yasser Arafat of the PLO first recognized the state of Israel. Artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo chose this Saturday in 1940 to marry for the second time.

In 1965, this date marked the end of the Great Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, mended after just over 900 years of disagreement. Dec. 7 also marks the birth date of Noam Chomsky, and those of you who read this column regularly know that I believe him to be one of the most brilliant minds and compassionate hearts, worthy of recognition.

But more than anything, Dec. 7 is a day that I cannot reference without saying, “a date which will live in infamy.” Pearl Harbor Day marks the bombing by the Japanese Navy of Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii (killing 2,403 people) and forcing America’s entry into World War II.

The infamy called upon for the day is well-earned, and will persist both as remembrance for those who died in that war and because it was supposed to be the war that will end all wars. (Unfortunately, the political wrangling after the fighting ended sowed the seeds for future and current conflicts.)

After this Dec. 7th, the day will also remind me of when Edmonds Community College marked the retirement of its soon-to-be past president, Jean Hernandez. Hernandez created an atmosphere of equity and inclusion, an environment where faculty and staff teach and serve students exceptionally well, and an administration that connected to the communities that it served.

Jean, as I will remember her, is a smart, strong, charismatic woman who created opportunities for all students at the college, including those who are often left behind or even considered unworthy. Jean understands that first generation students, or first gens, are more than intelligent enough but often do not have the family or personal resources to navigate higher education.

She does not question if a student forced to make it through college alone deserves the opportunity, but instead ensures access to academic support and access to professional or internship prospects. Jean set up the Hernandez-Foy Second-Chance scholarship for students with a history of homelessness or incarceration.

She also embedded herself into Edmonds and Lynnwood to raise our awareness of the outstanding work community colleges do. Jean would say that “community is our middle name” at Edmonds Community College, and highlighted its civic and economic benefits.

In 100 years, Dec. 7 will likely, and rightly, still be remembered as a date that will live in infamy. Edmonds Community College students may or may not remember Hernandez on that day, but her impact will still be felt at an institution and in a community that validates the dreams of its students and are dedicated to supporting those aspirations.

 

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