It is still bewildering for me to comprehend that it has only been 22 days since I wrote, “My Message to White Students at FBU.” I vividly remember the night I wrote that blog around two in the morning. My roommate was fast asleep and I was trying not to wake her up with my loud typing. I corrected it and reread the blog over and over again. I even debated deleting the whole document altogether, fearing judgement. I was worried that the friendships and relationships I had built with faculty, staff, and students would be tarnished due to the content of the blog. I feared that students would perceive me in a negative light in and out of the classroom. I submitted my blog post that night and went to sleep feeling drained from all of my overthinking.
The next couple days were kind of hectic upon people reading the blog. Students that I didn’t know were approaching me around campus and discussed their thoughts with me. I had Facebook conversations with friends from around the country about it. I attended meetings with my wonderful mentor and dedicated faculty members about the blog. My mom and I had numerous conversations over the phone and what she thought about it. Working with Leslie Doyle and Janelle Julian, we three decided it would be beneficial to host a Forum on Inclusion, discussing some of the points I brought up.
The Forum on Inclusion that I led took place on March 15th. I was in shock to see that a little less than fifty faculty, staff, and students gathered in the very cramped LACE Center in a large circle. While we didn’t solve and address every issue at Fontbonne, we at least started a conversation. Some students disagreed with my points, but that was the intent of writing the blog. I wanted to get a larger conversation going on campus about these issues. Whether we agree or disagree, we are civilly engaging in these, at times, uncomfortable topics. I want to thank everyone who came to the forum with an open mind and willingness to learn from one another. I will close with a quote from the latest edition of Tableaux. “Remember that the dear neighbor may be the person who holds a perspective radically different than your own.”-President Pressimone.
Stay on the lookout for a second Forum on Inclusion coming your way very soon. This ongoing conversation isn’t over yet.