As I get ready for the beginning of my last year in graduate school I can barely focus on my soon to come studies because my brothers and sisters are being killed all around me. Mothers, fathers, aunts, cousins, students, and friends are all gone because someone decided that they were too dangerous, too inhuman, and not worth enough of anything to live.
How can I sit and worry about whether or not my google calendar is synced with all of my meetings when I feel like I should be out on the streets protesting the injustice that is all around me? What does it matter if I can’t drive my car, sleep in my bed, or go to the store, without being confident that I will make it to the next day? At times I feel guilty that I have not dropped everything and joined the movement. I am able-bodied and of sound mind, that is something that I could do.
It is then that I remembered a word from the old folks in my family that many young Black children hear when they get too big for their britches. My grandmother used to tell me to “tend to my business,” when I got too involved in grown up conversations. Now I take that word from her and apply it to my grown up life.
I am figuring out that my lane of resistance and protest is to continue my education. I have a role that I must play and I remember that I would not have made it through the killings of Trayvon Martin, Kimani Gray, Rekia Boyd, and Jonathan Ferrel, to name a few, without the shoulders of student affairs professionals to cry upon. Even more the work of student affairs professionals should be as a support to our students that are beginning to put themselves on the front lines of activism. It is the collective leadership of young women, young queer folks, and young folks of color in all of their intersectional identities that is leading the Black Lives Matter Movement, not old religious leaders.
Graduate Assistants that get it are needed. Coordinators that get it are needed. Assistant Directors that get it are needed. College Presidents and Chancellors that get it are needed.
For me, these killings don’t feel like they are happening to other people. I am them and they are me. When I see my colleagues in this field that do not understand how personal this is I want to scream! If you, with your classes on feminism, social justice workshops, CSA competencies, and diversity programming quotas don’t get it, who else in the university will? I worry for your students.
If I feel like my very existence in the university is resistance what do you think your students feel?
Until next time,