Unity in Community

~ Rising as One ~

Rise Together

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”

~Baháʼu’lláh

The Unity in Community: Rising as One festival highlights and honors the collaboration, passion and compassion that has served to lift up our community during this unprecedented time. Our ability and commitment to join together with a common purpose is a testament to who we are, who we have always been as a college community.

Unity is a celebration of individuality. It is a deep appreciation and respect for the unique gifts and talents in all of us. The journey of unity is the creation of one voice that speaks to harmony and fellowship…individuals coming together with a mission to rise as one.

Rockland Community College continues to rise, to inspire, to choose hope over despair, to build an environment where all are cherished.

“We are each other’s harvest, we are each other’s business, we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” 

~Gwendolyn Brooks
Poet, Author, Educator

We must embrace our roles as changemakers to be a beacon, that light in the darkness for our students and our colleagues. We must be vigilant in our mission and pursuit of excellence for those with whom we work, educate and mentor. Only together will we rise as one community, dedicated to providing purpose driven educational opportunities and empowering individuals to positively transform themselves and their communities.

This our inaugural Unity in Community festival and all events are free and open to the public.

2021 Unity in Community Event Recordings

2021 Pets of RCC Photo Competition

The Pets of RCC certainly have that “Hollywood” quality! Thank you to all of the RCC employees who submitted entries for their “cute” and their “sleepy” pets. And a special thank you to our judges, Dr. Sue Deer, Dr. Katie Lynch and Joe Falco. Here are our winners:

Rebha Sabharwal’s Clark
Beth Robinson’s Melanie and Parker
Eileen MacAvery Kane’s Coco
Angelo Parra’s Charlie
Robert Deitch’s Huddle
Renee Glick’s Huck
United diversity and unity partnership as heart hands in a group of diverse people connected together shaped as a support symbol expressing the feeling of teamwork and togetherness.

2021 Unity in Community
Coordinators

Patty Maloney-Titland
Christopher Plummer
Rosemary Witte
Christina Schaudel 

Make Your Own Holiday Winners

As part of Unity in Community week, the School of Education & Social Sciences invited employees to submit “Make your own holiday” ideas. Participants worked in groups to create holidays for RCC and the community to celebrate. The winners were selected by a panel of judges and the community is looking forward to celebrating these holidays during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Random Acts of Kindness Day on October 21, 2021

Creators: Patricia Maloney-Titland, Rosemary Witte, Christopher Plummer
Sharing stories/photos/videos of the random acts of kindness that inspire others to act in a similar manner.

Healthy Habit Day on March 22, 2022

Creators: Dean Melanie Rie and Dean Kathy Hopkins
Engage in healthy behavior or refrain from an unhealthy habit.

Essay

Angelo Parra

If you’re looking to identify a field of endeavor that most completely personifies Unity in Community: Rising as One, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more pertinent than theatre.

Theatre – the art of performing a story for an audience – goes well back into our prehistory. No one will ever know who the first caveman or cavewoman was to put down the sabretooth tiger burger and, by firelight, rise to reenact the day’s hunt. It’s no stretch to say that theatre very likely has existed as long as humans have been human.

Much of the power of theatre comes from its reach. Most people are able to share their ideas and opinions only with those around them: family, friends, classmates, and co-workers. Theatre, on the other hand, enables its practitioners – playwrights, actors, and stagecraft artists – to speak to audiences of hundreds or thousands at a time, and possibly over time touch even millions.

Beyond theatre’s first and most important purpose – to engage and entertain, theatre plays an essential role in building and uplifting community. Theatre can pass on, from generation to generation, the community’s history and traditions. It can share values, cultural norms, and belief systems. At the same time, theatre often challenges the community’s cherished and longstanding notions, exposing them to examination, criticism, and reevaluation.

Years ago, a Journal News reporter surprised me by suggesting there was a common theme in my writing – the struggle of the underdog to achieve a rightful place in the community. I saw her point. My most successful play, The Devil’s Music, dramatizes the journey of African-American vocalist Bessie Smith who struggled against the odds – from poverty to bias against her bisexuality to racism in the form of the Ku Klux Klan – to become the most successful Blues singer of 1920s and ‘30s … perhaps mirroring my own journey as a Latino kid from housing projects in the Bronx who realized his dream of becoming a writer … and mentor to a new generation of aspiring writers.

For years here at RCC, the Performing Arts Department has carried on a tradition of meaningful and thought-provoking theatre with such productions as West Side Story, Ragtime, Rent, Angels in America, and Fiddler on the Roof – shows that speak eloquently to the human condition and the centrality of community.

Yet all too often theatre is the first on the chopping block during times of financial stress.  In this moment when our country is struggling to find a way to recommit to its ideals of diversity and inclusion, to underappreciate theatre is to lose its greatest gift to community – its moral compass.

Poetry

Dr. Meghan P. Nolan and her students prepared a “Word of Mouth” Reading Series for RCC’s Unity in Community festival. View the readings here.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
The second he knocked on my door,
I knew I’d be locked out of heaven
With strong attraction
(to be honest, it’s almost a must)
instantaneously I was entangled in a web of lust

Drunk on not only this sweet wine taste and feel
but his being and company
So sign me up for gluttony

Even if I were to make him mine, I’ll still be a fiend
cause with him, no matter what I may already have
I still need…need…need
the bearing fruit of my greed

Green
in envy
for those who had his time and love
Before me

Overwhelmed with this ethereal essence
I tend to sloth in his presence
I’d rather be the willing fool
Then to cast my judgment and lose what I have
A fate agonizingly cruel

Too scared to put my shield of pride to the side

Once again
Crumbling under the wrath I crafted from my own flesh and bones
for always bonding my soul to this romanticized purgatory that keeps pacified
but still…

There is no sweeter innocence;
Love; the most gentle of sin.
the catalyst for the fall of man
The genesis of Adam and Eve

Sinning is so easy, Can’t you see?
All it took was one man for me to hit
pure
Blasphemy

I Never flew too close to the sun.
It was over before it begun.
Wings weren’t there to get the job done.
I Never flew too close to the sun.

Seas are for sirens, angels for page,
I just deserve to crawl to the drain.
Stillness ensures earlier the grave,
dead living means there should be no pain.

I Never flew too close to the sun.
It was over before it begun.
Wings weren’t there to get the job done.
I Never flew too close to the sun.

A vision I know I’ll never see.
Dreams of gold for worthless saps like me,
I don’t deserve an ounce of pity
I followed this path of misery.

I Never flew too close to the sun.
It was over before it begun.
Wings weren’t there to get the job done.
I Never flew too close to the sun.

No use of thinking what’s onward bound
always stumbled around on the ground.
Sky ain’t a limit for those drive crowned.
Been more than few that I nearly drowned.

I Never flew too close to the sun.
It was over before it begun.
Wings weren’t there to get the job done.
I Never flew too close to the sun.

Never did a thing but dream bigger.
Oil floats but this blood is thicker,
can’t fall I just sink a bit deeper.
I am the ambition collector.

I Never flew too close to the sun.
It was over before it begun.
Wings weren’t there to get the job done.
I Never flew too close to the sun

We pollute faster than we recoup
and we spend all the un-spendables.
The children of the Earth who don’t grow too old
tell the rest they’re being too bold.

Since when did the dependables become the generals
in the fight to protect our Mother Earth
where we were all birthed.

Our actions are reprehensible
and even more so indefensible.
We need to take a step back and look around
at what we’ve condemned our children to fix
unless they’d rather drown.
Drown in debt.
Drown in rising sea levels.
Drown in the trouble of being born.

But a bright new solstice in our history is possible and approaching.
A human condition and system
that shakes off the eternal cold winter
threatening to wilt and wither
any hope of future growth.

Those that want to be the hope
will usher in a bright, nurturing new summer.
A fresh start free from surrender.
The people will refuse to be the herd
and demand to be heard.
Nature and man will flourish in a renewed symbiosis
a tradition long forgotten
we need to choose as our renewed focus.

I bought a blanket at primark the other day. I got it for $7, because, you know, primark. When I felt it, I knew I needed it. It was adorable and incredibly soft to the touch.

I used it. Rejoiced in its fluffiness. But when it was put to the test of how being a blanket matters, it fell short, left me freezing. Just like you. You were there for a while, and don’t get me wrong, it was great at first. But over time, you changed. I was able to look past the fact that half of our time together was spent with you texting other friends. I didn’t see a better alternative, I thought that was normal, so I couldn’t see that fact that you were nothing but a cheap polyester alternative for true comfort.

You stopped returning my texts. You’d cancel our plans with no real explanations. I’d look to you for warmth, for comfort, for some sign of trying. But you, you primark blanket you, responded only with heart emojis and ilys

I thought it would hurt more, but I guess just like the primark blanket, you’re not worth enough to get upset over.

Somebody had poured soap
into the City Hall fountain
that night. The next morning,
white foam spilled onto the
concrete in big creamy folds,
which flowed over a gummy
black grit that has slowly been
accumulating over the years.
By the time daily commuters
had arrived, a telltale marina
had already expanded to the
iron gates, and several were
faced with the grim dilemma
of how to mark twain in a sea
yet charted. It did not matter
how long one stood to wait,
everyone would eventually
have to hike up a pant leg
and dive in – grown men
covered up to their necks
in the unexpected effects
of a youthful prank. Each
detached head was bobbing
buoy-like, shiny as Polaris,
while the helpless attendant
with a pool skimmer scanned
the scene like Midas trapped
in a crow’s nest. That was the
first and last time anyone had
been seen sans briefcase below
Canal Now the suds are merely
a clew stringing thru our gutters.

Video

Nursing on Unity in Community at RCC
A discussion with some of RCC’s future nurses, as they share why they want to give back to the community. As well as giving a glimpse into what it’s like to be a nursing student learning and growing in a pandemic. Concept and editing by Keith A. Young.