Where do we go from here
I write this in reflection of the Black Lives Matter movement. As I think back to my time at Alma College; I wonder if there is more I can do and more it can do. I have watched as the modern-day civil rights movement of our time has come and gone. I believe I have worked to do my part but noticed places that affirmed Black Lives Matter have mostly moved on. There has been too little meaningful improvement for us as a race and the wider society. While much of the focus has been on criminal justice reform, other issues have not been addressed adequately. Education, employment, and income inequality also need correction as they are the core of the issue we still face.
My college taught me to think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world bequeath to future generations. That is why I am writing this now. I believe that this institution is the best fit to help with what I ask next. I want to address the factors limiting fair access to all Americans, but especially Black Americans. There is an increased earning potential and employment potential from earning a degree. There is also a decrease in negative interaction with law enforcement all Americans have when they earn a degree (which is even more true with minorities). So this is a long build-up to get to my point the best way to affirm Black Lives Matter is to live it. This institution should commit to and challenge its peers to do the same and work to bring college completion to parity across races. I know this is a big ask and something Alma can not do alone, but this can be done. I have seen the increase of minority achievement in my life it just needs one more push. Colleges can and should use their abilities to 1) create a summer program for improving education 2) help prep high schoolers on their college options 3) support and partner with affordable institutions not limited to 4-year private colleges, including trade schools or community colleges 4) give student and nonstudents continued resume building and interview prep 5) partner and support HBCUs and K12 schools in minority districts 6)advertise your commitment. Notice I did not say admit more minority students because I believe university admittance is a surface-level problem and distracts from other deep-rooted issues we face. College affordability is part of the issue some students you coach up, and giving people options of more affordable colleges some will take it because it is what is best for their situations but it still gets to the goal of bringing parity to college achievement.
While most of my suggestions are universal I believe these are some of the ways we can continue to help. I am grateful for my degree and hope more people have the same chance. But the cost is too high for many families which means it is not the best choice for everyone Alma and similar institutions can still serve those who don’t choose them and help correct systemic inequality between races.