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  • Highlighting the Land of Lincoln

I want to thank you for choosing to feature Illinois in the April 3 edition. The articles were informative and effective in highlighting many of the good things that are occurring in our state. Thanks for your attention.

— Terry Nunn Deputy Director for Diversity and Outreach Illinois Board of Higher Education

The ENLACE initiative has developed over the past six years within 13 sites in seven different states (see “Empowering Hispanic Scholars To Navigate the Academy,” April 3). Dr. (Santos) Rivera and the Northeastern Illinois ENLACE program have done an incredible job in developing young, strong leaders, which add to the diversity of the educational landscape. All ENLACE programs were developed with a unique vision and Northeastern took a bold step in working towards developing these leaders and scholars at the college level. Dr. Rivera and his staff should be commended for taking on the challenge of developing leaders at this level.

— Ron Martinez

The Time Is Not Now

Ward Connerly and others seem to feel that administrative tools and efforts that take race into account have served their purpose and no longer have a role in advancing our quest for inclusion, representation and social justice (see “Antipreference Campaigns Heat Up,” April 3).

I beg to differ. The Connerly-inspired efforts currently being advanced in Nebraska and four other states are wholly premature.

But, I do believe there will come a time when we will not need these mechanisms and efforts to exact social justice. From my experience and observation, that day is not today, nor will it be in April 2009, maybe not even by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s “magic” date of 2028. However, the day will come when we will know that we’ve “arrived.” And when, you might ask, will that be? How will we know?

Let me share a few indicators that will lead me to champion the elimination of affirmative action, equity and diversity efforts in higher education, business and industry, and government:

  • When women and minorities have attained their proportionate share of leadership and decision-making roles in our institutions of higher education, in business and industry, and in government;
  • When the voices and views of minorities and women are actively solicited, presented, heard and accorded because of respect and weight in the processes of hiring, promotion, merit, and retention in higher education, business and industry, and government;
  • When the inclusion, representation and participation of minorities and women are not afterthoughts or add-ons, but up-front and expected considerations as processes, activities and events are planned, designed and developed;
  • When diversity “enriches” more than it “enrages;”
  •  When diversity unites more than it divides; and
  •  When minorities and women no longer have to work twice as hard to be perceived as being “half as good.”

José J. Soto, Vice President for Affirmative Action/Equity/Diversity Southeast Community College, Lincoln, Neb

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