February, as a rule, tends toward the crazier side. It is the month before midterms, filled with room change forms, class switches and general stumbling as everyone adjusts to the new semester.
For Black Student Union, this understandable chaos is doubled. You see, it is Black History Month, which carries conflicting implications.
As a club, our goals have always been the twin towers of empowerment and education. How do we uphold each other, a small minority on a small campus, and try to narrate our stories to our non-black brothers and sisters? The paradox of those questions is the reason planning begins before winter term. It is also, I imagine, the reason why so many reach out with questions, suggestions and proposals. Those individuals, despite the late nights, early mornings and insistent meetings, are a reason for hope.
These past few weeks, I have been staggered by the quiet and tenacious but not unnoticed acts of support others have shown for Black Student Union, by voices that have shouted against bigotry when others would prefer that they cower.
It is sad that we live in a world that needs those voices, but inspiring to know we have them. It has been noted by the wise that history repeats itself, and this is true of the bad… and the good. An anecdote to prove it: in 1868, a retired Union veteran Oliver Otis Howard visited Storrs School in Atlanta Ga. There he stumbled across Richard R. Wright, a young student born into slavery, but a quickly rising star who would one day establish The Georgia State Industrial College for Colored People.
Howard asked the students: “When I shall return home, what shall I tell the people of the North of the colored people of the South?” I entreat my readers to remember Wright’s answer, and know it applies to us too. He said, “Tell em’, sir, that we are rising.”