More than 200 African American professors sent a beautiful open letter to the 2017 graduates of Bethune-Cookman College who protested Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, as she attempted to complete her speech. The graduates turned their backs on DeVos (literally) as she offered her remarks.
The faculty members said, “We are floating this morning thinking about how you stood up to your university and protested the woefully under-qualified Secretary of Education who attempted to address you at your graduation yesterday.” They continued:
Watching you stand and turn your backs to her makes us elated. Overjoyed. Humbled. It was a day and a moment that should have been about celebrating you and what you achieved.
The world watched you protest the speaker you never should have had. We cheered as we saw so many of you refuse to acquiesce in the face of threats and calls for complicity. Your actions fit within a long tradition of Black people fighting back against those who attack our institutions and our very lives with their anti-Black policies and anglo-normative practices. Betsy DeVos’ commitment to dismantling public education and her egregious framing of historically Black colleges and universities as “pioneers” in school choice are just two examples of why she should never have been invited to speak at an event celebrating Black excellence.
You are the best of us. We, the undersigned, are Black professors and college administrators—some of us at HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities], some of us at PWIs [Predominantly White Institutions], some of us HBCU alums—and we thank you. We salute you. And we love you.
You can read the entire letter here.
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