In August of 1619, over 20 enslaved Africans touched the shores of the U.S. This watershed moment would shape the very character of this country for the next 400 years or so, until the present day.
Racism is as old, persistent and pervasive as America itself, and its staining, oppressive effects are not unknown to those of us who bear the weight of it in our daily lives.
“Being Black in America forces you to be in constant anger and sadness, but most of all… fear.”— Asia Chester, UBS Outreach Coordinator
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are just three names in a long list of victims whose stories we may never know. While many take sympathy, I find solace in our journey as Black people, for we have braved countless dark nights knowing joy comes in the morning. We have reached moments of great strife and intense struggle such as these before. And although the road may appear lengthy and grim, I am confident that we as a unity will meet and eclipse these challenges with the same grace, poise and compassion of the freedom fighters who preceded us.
“Now more than ever, we must continue to stand with one another and create a community to overcome the oppression of Black people in America.”— Tikiyah Ivey, UBS Senator
From enslavement to Jim Crow, the impediments to our success have been relentless. The U.S. was constructed from its roots to necessitate Black inferiority and ingrain a hostile perspective toward people of color. However, we have never allowed the majority’s systemic attitude to have the final say. From marches and sit-ins to organizing underground churches (when Black congregations were otherwise outlawed by slavery), we have always found ways to resist, persist and demand a better tomorrow for all people. Now will be no exception.
“Despite feeling down, we must raise our voices in times of injustice and continue to uplift our community. We need it now more than ever.”— Jailah Williams, First Vice President
Trust not in the abilities of others to bring about change, but in your own. This opportunity demands a heightened new sense of awareness, education and courage to speak out. We may mourn today, but in the memory of Floyd, Taylor, Arbery and so many lost loved ones, we will overcome tomorrow.
words_ landon coles, united black students president