Sunday, September 9, 2007

My Disappointment

I had planned on writing this blog about the landmark legislation that Congress voted in on Friday afternoon that will add about $20 billion to student loan and grant programs over the next five years. There are so many positive things I have to say about it, but I won’t have the opportunity to do so today. It is terribly disappointing that instead of taking this time to celebrate a historic win for students, I must rather address the incident that occurred at Nyumburu on Friday.

There is no doubt in my mind that the rope placed on a tree outside Nyumburu was intended to reference lynching, something that is both disturbing and disgusting and a threat to everyone’s ability to peacefully go about their life. It is my sincere hope that this was perpetrated by someone outside of our community. I am as shocked as anyone to have such an overt act of prejudice occur on our campus. Though, it matters less who did it and more why they did it and what we can all do to prevent it from happening in the future.

I actually spent last Wednesday evening at Howard University at a rally to “Free the Jena 6.” For those of you who aren’t aware of the incident, I encourage you to read about it at: I was impressed by the turnout. In fact, they filled up their main auditorium and there was a supplementary rally that took place outside. Words of motivation and encouragement, spoken-word poems, and community prayer accompanied a night of activism, passion, and at times- outrage. I hope we can follow the example at Howard and galvanize as a community to fight against racism.

Whether it is out in the open or existing behind the scenes, we cannot and will not tolerate prejudice in our community. I hope to work with student leaders across campus to address this issue specifically and the indications it may have regarding our campus. Please do not hesitate to contact me about your feelings regarding this or any related incident.


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