Dear Seahawk Community,
It is with great pride that we write to you. The weekend of the 24th of September, we – Cody Dorsey and Leah Woody, both juniors – were honored to have been invited to attend the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. We had the opportunity to hear from President Barack Obama, Congressman John Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Angela Bassett and former President George W. Bush. The Museum is not just a new facility filled with richness, but a 100-year old dream that came true because of the innovative ideas of Dr. Lonnie Bunch, the Smithsonian Institute, our public servants, and those who donated.
While we had our fan moments (taking photos with Congressmen and celebrities), nothing compared to viewing the rawness of the exhibits and recognizing how far we have come, yet, how far we still have to go. When we completed touring the exhibit of Emmett Till – which included his original casket – we were reminded that we still have much further to go. “No justice, no peace” was a chant 50 years ago, and is still our mantra 50 years later. Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights Icon and confidant to Martin Luther King, Jr., told us that as students, without much to lose, we must be the generation that stands up (our parents on the other hand have jobs to protect and bills to pay). We know that college is one of the only places where we can learn the value of true diversity, which comes from inclusion. College is the place where pell grant recipients and trust fund kids can meet at the center.
While we were sometimes angry during our tour of the museum because of the treatment our people received – and still receive (countless Black men and women killed day after day by those sworn to protect), we know that we can be more productive than angry. When we see cities like Baltimore and Charlotte in chaos, we are inspired to do something. So we ask you if there is something that you believe can be improved, do something. If you see an act of hate or bias, do something. If you have any empathy about recent events in our country and even closer – on our campus, do something!
Cody L. Dorsey & Leah R. Woody
St. Mary’s College of Maryland