Notes from the VC’s Desk: Direct from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brigid Heywood this week

Published On June 5, 2020 | By Alana | General News, News, Notes from the VC's Desk
On a sunny day in Armidale, after a week of wind and snow, we should be celebrating good fortune in life – believe me I am. After pandemic, bushfires and drought (and a painful fall off my bike!) I am counting my blessings…

Under normal circumstances I would now reflect with no small measure of enthusiasm upon my week, and as per my usual practice share various details of life at UNE, in and around our community, and details of conversations with colleagues, peers and students.

Reconciliation by Llyod Hornsby
Sadly, all I have to say today is that every life still matters and I hope that my small collection of notes swells a chorus of voices saying ‘Black Lives Matter’.

George Floyd was a 46-year-old black male who died on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (US) after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed, lying face down in the street.

I strongly hold to the belief that UNE staff and students will in various ways be equally disturbed, upset and challenged by the fact that such brutality is possible. As we go about our normal lives, enjoying the long weekend and the freedoms which fall naturally to us, let us also remember in some way the loss of this life and all that it symbolises. Do one thing to make a difference.

(Untitled) by Michael Snape
There are many anthems which speak to freedom and equality; this week my fingers went straight to Billie and the lyrics of Strange Fruit which are comforting, as well as challenging.

No apologies for my somewhat serious voice; stay safe, enjoy the break and celebrate your freedom. 


Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO


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One Response to Notes from the VC’s Desk: Direct from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brigid Heywood this week

  1. Helen L McAllister says:

    Freedom’s Way
    For Coretta King, loving wife of Martin Luther King
    And Mike and Colin- the Homeless.
    © Helen Loris Burke McAllister 5th March 2017 Atlanta Georgia USA

    “Stay real quiet, gal! I dun wanna hurt you”
    As the knife grazed the skin of her back.
    “Just stay real quiet and drop that bag.
    You can go and never look back.
    Just gimme a dime for a drink!”
    No time to know what it means now.
    Aware, the smell of his clothes.
    Alone, she thought no harm could befall her-
    Not even as she entered the church.
    Past memories gone, overcame her.
    That time when she fell to the ground.
    Now cold with the fear she had never let near.
    She dropped it, and turned fast around.
    He looked at her meanly, his eyes were all bleary –
    His spit bubbled down to his chin.
    And just as he plunged, the knife fell asunder,
    As something just pricked at her skin.
    A light shone above, a feeling of Love –
    From somewhere, she could not say where.
    Inside her she knew that dream had come true
    He’d laid down his life for this one.

    “I have a Dream” a Man had once said,
    As he led them along Freedom’s Way.
    “Until death us do part”, said straight from his heart –
    We know it’s America’s way.
    No colour shall stop us –
    nor blood – not a drop,
    should be spilt, as we walk for the Truth.
    We Trust in our God – as each path is trod.
    Equality – we’ll find our own way.
    No fear, nor not harm – No violence, no arms-
    Keep walking each step of this Life.
    And when we are done, just know that each one
    Has given the best that they can.

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