There is a lot happening on school campuses across the country and we wanted to take a break to speak directly to the students leading the charge for change. Here are a few things we have to say to them:
I see you. I hear you. I am you. Those of us that are a little bit older and are removed from our alma maters are watching you with proud chests and open eyes.
Each campus has their own specific problems, but there is a common thread.
I’m proud of you.
Stay focused. In one, two, three, four or five years from now, you will graduate and enter the world with a degree. A few semesters of activism can really impact your grades. Find ways to decompress and compartmentalize so that you continue to be excellent academically.
Not everyone will understand, and that’s okay. A small but passionate group can make a huge difference.
Listen to and support each other. Not every black student in your class or on campus is going to have the same experience as you, and that’s okay. But you will need each other in hard times.
It’s likely that black students aren’t the only disenfranchised group on your campus. There is strength in numbers.
Register to vote. One of the ways to continue to impact change is to engage and participate in local and regional politics.
Keep sharing your stories and experiences.
Take care of yourself holistically. The experiences you're going through and experiencing, and those of your classmates across the country, are traumatic. They affect your spirit, trouble your psyche, and have physical ramifications as well. Take moments to check in with yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. We need you to not just survive, but thrive!
The world is transforming under our very feet. This is our moment. This is our time.
Record your experiences. Written, visual or otherwise, you'll want to recount this pivotal time.
Beware of people telling you about ‘the real world.’ The real world is what you’re building right now — it’s whatever you want it to be.
Love yourself and love each other. It's not always easy. It can be impossibly hard. So remind each other and please know that you are invaluable, you are loved, we love you and you deserve nothing more than to love yourself.
On Wednesday, Oct. 28, Yale College Dean Burgwell Howard asked Halloween-goers to be sensitive to the cultural implications of their costumes.
Two faculty members criticized this email saying students had a write to express themselves.
The original email is here and the email response from Erika Christakis is here where she writes:
"American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition," she wrote. "And the censure and prohibition come from above, not from yourselves! Are we all okay with this transfer of power?"
In a recent interview with Uptown Magazine, Taraji P. Henson discusses why she decided to send her son to Howard University, a Historically Black University and her alma mater, after being racially profiled at the University of Southern California. Naturally these remarks stirred a debate of whether Black students are safer at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities i.e. Xavier, Howard, Spelman, Morehouse, etc. ) or PWIs (Predominantly White Institutions, i.e. USC, Yale, Stanford, NYU, etc.).
In my opinion, the debate about students of color being safer at an HBCU or a PWI is not a worthy debate. The discussion should center on whether students (of color) are safe on or off campus, regardless of the student body's demographic makeup. Higher education institutions should value their student’s safety regardless of race, but it has happened again and again, that these institutions find the need to revise the laws as an attempt to quell controversy and calm the hearts of horrified parents.
Especially with the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and most recently with Martese Johnson being brutalized and arrested by police, the safety of students on college campuses is on the forefront of everyone’s minds. If anything, these situations will reinforce the need to make sure that all students are ensured of their safety while in class and hanging out with their friends in their college towns; particularly in light of righteous concerns about police brutality. For instance, students at UVa are now protesting to restrict ABC officers to arrest people and the Governor has made an executive order to retrain all officers.
USC responded recently stating their concern for a student having to deal with racial profiling on their campus, since Taraji’s comments have stirred so much conversation.
Taraji even responded recently to critics on Twitter:
I really don't care what ppl think about what I do with MY LIFE AND ALL INVOLVED WITH ME!!!!! Give it a rest. ✌️
— Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) March 23, 2015
Howard University has yet to comment.