Real Talk with Black Alumni
SMU is far from perfect, but the fight to make this predominately white institution more racially equitable is worth it.
This was the sentiment iterated by speakers during the June 24 #StampedeInPlace webinar hosted by the Black Alumni of SMU Board. The collaborative presentation shared the individual perspectives and knowledge of leaders that represent alumni, students, clergy, a counseling professional and a meditation facilitator.
The Black Alumni board along with recognized leaders in the SMU black alumni community D’Marquis Allen ’16 and Anga Sanders ’93, ’99, worked with SMU Alumni Relations staff to create the event. Designed to be an intentional conversation dedicated to healing and learning, the webinar welcomed all Mustangs, past and present, to participate. The SMU Black Alumni Board plan to host more conversations in the near future.
Follow us on Facebook to hear more about the next @Stampede in Place event.
#StampedeInPlace is a series of virtual events for Mustangs by Mustangs that encourage Mustang alumni across the country to come together to live life to its fullest, work smarter and play harder.
A spark… has brought us here in this moment where America, and all of its institutions, including SMU, can no longer turn a blind eye to the racial discrimination and the treatment of black people in this country.
Jasmine Culpepper Tobias ’06, ’15, Attorney at Holland & Knight LLP, Black Alumni of SMU chair
I’ve had countless number of students to come into my office over the years frustrated, tired, humiliated and sometimes ready to give up on their dream of receiving their college education from SMU because of something someone has said to them or how they’ve been treated by a peer or even by faculty in their classroom. My advice to each of them has been, and continues to be: this is your house and you should never feel like you are a visitor in your own house. You have to use your voice, your collective power, to right the wrongs that are placed on you as individuals and you as a collective.
Jennifer “J.J.” Jones ’93 ’99, Executive Director, Student Development – Division of Student Affairs
Holy Creator we gather tonight as kindred spirits in our anger, our disappointment and our hopefulness seeking to move forward as agents of change we recognize the racial inequity of our shared community. And we come seeking strategies so that once and for all we can level the playing field and help one another heal as we move forward give us the heart to help one another understand what needs to be changed, the courage to speak out and to hold our administration and one another accountable, and the tenacity to stand firm until we effect positive long-lasting change in the culture of SMU.
Emily Newsome, ordained minister and Christian life coach, president of the SMU Black Faculty and Staff Association
But what does it mean if thy neighbor is black? It means that my family earns $57 for every $100 a white family does. It means that even with my college degree I am still twice as likely to be unemployed than all other graduates. It means that my father and my brother are five times more likely to be incarcerated than white men are.
Myca Williamson ’15, Professional MBA student and Human Rights Fellow
I love SMU. I chose to come here, and I truly bleed red and blue. But over the past few weeks I have been embarrassed by the University’s actions. The SMU administration is not treating its students with dignity. After countless meetings, letters and pleas made to the administration they’re acting as if these stories and instances of racism are from students who hide in the back of a classroom. But no, these are the stories of students who excel, who are active and who are sitting in these meetings with administration. They have known about these instances for a long time…
Lexxi Clinton Class of 2021, president of Association of Black Students
Racism is associated with a host of psychological consequences including depression, anxiety and sometimes draining conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder…
Sharna Johnson ’15, MS, LPC, founder of Awake to Dream Again
I encourage everyone to practice self-care right now - abundant self-care right now - because we need it. And yoga and meditation are excellent choices for self-care, because they anchor us in peace. And we need inner peace in this struggle, because the struggle for racial equality will continue. But we need not suffer through it. We can get relief from those heavy emotions that wear on our physical and mental well-being.
Anietie Antia-Obong ’95, producer, director, writer, yoga instructor, meditation facilitator and Reiki healing practitioner
We will continue to follow up with the administration on a continual basis regarding the progress of the suggestions we have made to President Turner in addition to the Association of Black Students. In the meantime, I’d encourage everyone to continue to have these very intentional conversations. Let’s not settle for simply reading hashtags and social media statuses. Let’s get out there and do something.