“…we gon’ be alright; we gon’ be alright. We gon’ be alright; Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright…”- Kendrick Lamar
I had no intention of blogging again this week. Nonewhatsoever. I’m tired. A good tired but tired. And as of right this second, I have 32 minutes until my kid calls me to watch Jeopardy. So this will be brief.
I was looking for something this week. I was looking for something that could help me say: you know what, we gon’ be alright. Because, recently, I’ve truly been going back and forth on that. Some days I’m wondering what’s going on in my county, state, country. (Y’all did see that white supremacists marched down the street some days ago, right? And the redistricting debate going on in Howard County? Wow. #dontreadthecomments)
But this week.
This week some solid things happened, y’all. FOUR. SOLID. THINGS. Four things that made my heart smile. That made me smile. And so I just had to share in case someone else needs to know that we gon’ be alright. (I think.)
On Monday, a group of thoughtful people and a few elected officials (and candidates for office- pay attention!!) publicly protested the presence of a Confederate monument at the County courthouse. On Tuesday, the monument was gone. Edit: And I almost forgot this piece!! On Sunday, someone covered the thing up. With duck tape. Like all stealth like. (That’s one.)
On Wednesday, I proudly presented our new (not live yet but you know I’ll share when it is) diversity and inclusion website to my colleagues at our retreat. And it was well received. That same day, at that same retreat, an incredible panel of campus leaders (professors, a staff member, and students) talked about what diversity and inclusion means at our university. And even challenged us to be better! I’ll blog more about this later (or maybe even talk about it on Elevate Maryland with Tom) but I’ll just drop these concepts for now: critical diversity and diversity mindfulness. Google this stuff, y’all. Read it. Learn it. I haven’t absorbed it all yet but after that panel, I’m thhiiisss close to applying for the Language, Literacy, and Culture PhD program at UMBC. This close. #iwanttolearnmorefromsmartpeople (That’s two.)
Today. Today. Today. Four brave students who I’ve been working with brought the house down at our annual fall meeting. Like standing ovations and everything. (I can’t clearly articulate how great they are so I’ll briefly describe who they are. Also, I have 14 minutes until Jeopardy.)
Student 1- A young, quiet, beautiful, soulful man who will major in dance (and biology). Dance. A young man. And in his words to me: “I love ballet and have been dancing that style since I was three but I like the way I can express myself with modern dance. I plan to study that and fall back on the biology thing.” #word
Student 2- A homeschooled young lady from Howard County who wants to be an engineer and a role model as a woman in STEM. Her greatest accomplishment thus far? She is a world champion in robotics. World champion. #beast
Student 3- A DACA student from Mexico who decided she didn’t want to “hide in the shadows” anymore. She’s the recipient of our Presidential scholarship and will do great things. I cried real tears when she told me about her journey. And I cried again when she spoke today. I wasn’t alone. She represented all that is right in the world. #inspiration
Student 4- An African American PhD student who used poetry to explain that he’s more than his MIT and Duke degrees and will be studying health disparities so he can give back. He dropped knowledge today about his experience as a black man. Serious knowledge. #woke (That’s three.)
And then. I returned to my office after the meeting and happened to check my mailbox (I’m bad at this.). There was a card in the box. I can’t reveal what the person wrote because it wasn’t signed (and they may want to remain anonymous) but just know that it’s in the top 5 as one of the nicest things anyone has ever written about me/to me. About leadership and strength and having my back/hearing my voice as we navigate the world’s challenges. Whoever you are, you brought me to tears. I appreciate what you did/said more than you’ll ever know. And when/if you want to reveal yourself, I’m ready to talk…and listen. Thank you so much. (That’s 4.)
Jeopardy started. I’m out. But we gon’ be alright.
“…we gon’ be alright; we gon’ be alright. We gon’ be alright; Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright…”
Pardon any grammatical or spelling errors. I had minutes folks.