How my encounter with Julian Bond Awakened the Activist in Me
I don’t usually comment or post on public figures passing but Mr. Julian Bond, one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) passed away yesterday. I was awarded the opportunity during my undergrad years as the former President of the only existing chapter of SNCC at the University of Louisville and former Secretary of the NAACP Louisville Chapter, to have met such a calming yet awakened spirit as Mr. Bond’s at a NAACP banquet.
I remember as he shook my hand I felt like I was apart of something great. His calm yet stern look as our hands gripped gave me an assurance as if to say keep on… This resonates much more in my heart today as it did then. Then it seemed like we were only up against the Jena 6 movement, the injustice of 4 African American young ladies and myself getting left in Belize by a racist staff member at the University of Louisville, the KKK passing out applications that was approved by UofL due to them being in the free speech zone, shutting down the provost office because of tuition hikes and fearing for our lives because a vanguard site posted videos threatening to drag my friend Rosie Washington through the mud and kill her for protesting and fighting for what we all believed in….Justice for all!!
Over the years I learned that we are not fighting specific incidents because these quickly turn into fads and disappear but that we are fighting a mindset, a systemic privilege that institutionalize separation and appropriation through fear, persecution and judgement that leads into false incarcerations and deaths. I learned that I don’t have an automatic stamp of approval due to my skin complexion. No matter how much I learn, what I achieve and who I dare to be will not take away the physical and emotional exhaustion of not being able to breathe while being alive. The suffocation of black America birthed the #BlackLivesMatter movement. This is not to say all lives don’t matter and to make that a debate is insane. It is a notion, a stance to exploit the inequality that has been happening for over decades to black lives. Sheding light in real time. Hoping that the Love and Kindness of humanity can over power hatred and have people look beyond themselves by taking off their invisible knapsack of privilege and put aside their egos/stereotypes for human life.
Never in a million years did I think that my undergrad experience would of lead me to have met such amazing people dedicated to the cause like Theresa El-Amin , Alvin Toussaint Herring and the late Mr. Julian Bond. A noted civil rights leader/activist, a writer, a poet, a television commentator, a lecturer, a college professor and a man who dedicated his life to serving others for the greater good. Mr. Bond we thank you for living out your purpose. Rest in Peace #JulianBond