By |Published On: June 5th, 2020|Categories: University Communications|



The impacts of COVID-19 expose hard truths about our society’s lack of preparedness and long-term neglect of and disregard for communities of color. What we continue to see with the killing of George Floyd is a deeply disturbing confirmation of the endemic and persistent consequence of personal and systemic racism in America. It violates our core values at Fielding as educators and individuals who believe in the principles of social justice, particularly those of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The founders of Fielding Graduate University envisioned making high-quality graduate education and transformative learning experiences accessible to adult learners. They understood the power of graduate education to advance both the professional lives of our graduates and our society more broadly. We stand in solidarity with the Fielding community to support the concrete expressions of these principles through our educational practices and our treatment of one another. We stand with others in higher education and all who are dedicated to creating structural change and building a more just world.


Dear Fielding Community members,

Like many of you, I have been struggling to make sense of the rapidity of the changes and social upheavals we are experiencing as a society. We are simultaneously in the midst of a devastating pandemic and grappling with how the impacts of such have exposed the foundations of a society built on white supremacy that continues to bear bitter fruit. We see the consequences unfolding in real-time, such as in continuing health disparities and vicious racism. These are all such hard things to hold within ourselves and our families.

Beginning with the impacts of the pandemic falling disproportionately on communities of color, to the despair felt watching George Floyd, yet another black man, die under the hands of white police officers, we find ourselves as a nation in a moment of reckoning. It is in such a moment that a society can change. Nevertheless, it is up to us to act.

In a recent interview, historian and 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie G. Bunch III noted that protests are a way that those who are voiceless speak. Historically, we might view current events as a possible tipping point in creating lasting change. He recalled Ella Baker’s words that, “Until the killing of a black mother’s son is considered as important to this country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” Now is not the time to rest.

At Fielding, we have high aspirations that our work as scholar-practitioners contributes meaningfully to advancing justice in many forms. I know that many of you are taking up this mantle in different ways such as engaging in the life of your communities, creating spaces of support for each other, participating in demonstrations, actively listening to others expressing their anguish, shifting your research efforts, and writing about these issues. All of these are actions that contribute to a collective willingness to demand a more just society around us.

Our faculty, academic leaders, and staff stand together during this time. As we continue to proceed through tumultuous times, the Fielding community is committed to sustained actions and work, not just now today but in the coming months.

As each one of us thinks about what should be done at this moment, I encourage you to think of Dr. Martin Luther King’s message when he said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” May we all live into his vision of a better society by the things we do each day.

With kind regards,



Katrina S. Rogers, PhD

About the Author: Elena Nicklasson

Elena Ilina Nicklasson, MA, is an international practitioner with a career in the social justice movement. She is a Metamorphosis Maven mastering modern organizational evolution, coach, and an advancement professional. She has produced dozens of conferences, educational events, media projects, and international dialogues on peace and social justice. Elena has served as Director of Development at Fielding Graduate University since 2017. She is Vice President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Santa Barbara-Ventura Chapter. Elena holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Beloit College and a master’s degree in organizational development and change from Fielding Graduate University. She is a doctoral student in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding. Her research focuses on ecopreneurs and paradoxes of sustainability. 

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