Making Americans, Making America

Re-posted from the Carnegie Corporation of New York with op-ed link from the Wall Street Journal

By General Colin Powell – 07.06.2016

The author’s comments were made during a discussion on immigrant access to higher education hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York. In addition, these remarks are the basis for an op-ed piece, printed in the Wall Street Journal (online 7.25.2016 and in print 7.26.2016)

Many years ago, after I had become a four-star general and, then, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Times of London wrote an article observing that if my parents had sailed to England rather than New York, “the most they could have dreamed of for their son in the military was to become a sergeant in one of the lesser British regiments.”

Only in America could the son of two poor Jamaican immigrants become the first African American, the youngest person, and the first ROTC graduate from a public university to hold those positions, among many other firsts. My parents arrived—one at the Port of Philadelphia, the other at Ellis Island—in search of economic opportunity, but their goal was to become American citizens, because they knew what that made possible.

Immigrants
– 
future Americans
– make America better
every single day.

—  GENERAL COLIN L. POWELL, USA (Ret.)

Continue reading “Making Americans, Making America”

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On Graduation

If you’ve never been to a CCNY graduation, you should come.

All graduations are joyous events; all graduations affect transitions between years of preparation and a world rife with new possibilities.  And, I’ll admit that it’s been years since I’ve attended a graduation that did not take place on a CUNY campus—but I still think our graduations are different.

I think they’re different because they’re filled with young people rewriting their entire family history.  When you wander around after a Colin Powell School graduation ceremony, you’re surrounded by parents who’ve sent sons and daughters into a world they didn’t understand and couldn’t explain to their children.  For many it may feel like a huge gamble: will their children grow unfamiliar to them, alienated from home and culture? Will the embrace of an education build walls, or create ladders? Will a child’s opportunity be a family’s loss? Despite the risks and doubts, or perhaps because of them, students and families arrive at graduation day as to a new continent they never thought they’d reach.  The air is spiced with their joy.

Continue reading “On Graduation”

In Memory of Elie Wiesel: A Message from General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)

From the Facebook Page of General Colin L. Powell, July 2, 2016:

Elie Wiesel, one of the greatest humanitarians of our time and a dear friend of mine has died. Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate, brilliant author, conscience of the world lived by the code “to forget the dead is akin to killing them a second time.”

He also faithfully served on the Board of Visitors of the Colin Powell School at the City College of New York. He loved youngsters. He will be missed, but his spirit will live on.

Alma and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife Marion, son Elisha and their family.

 

 


 

To learn more about the life of Dr. Wiesel, please visit:

The Elie Wiesel Foundation