Since December, my classmates and I at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy worked hard to put together a video that is a collective of our Black experience. Below is the introduction I wrote for the film’s screening. I hope that you’re able to take a look at this film and see it as a point for conversation. In this world we all have privilege and it is important to acknowledge that we as graduate students understand ours and wish to use it to put forth an important message that too often goes unheard.
Walking the Line of Blackness is a pinnacle moment of pride for me and I hope the film inspires you encourages you to make a positive change in your community, whatever that may be.
Over the past few months, we have witnessed increased media coverage of unarmed Black and Brown bodies- slain after interactions with the police.
The incidents have sparked a national discussion about race and what it means to be recognized as a full citizen within the United States.
As students of public policy, it is our duty to acknowledge and recognize that in order to craft the best solutions to the challenges we face today, it is our responsibility to comprehend that the struggle for an inclusive society cannot be fully realized without acknowledging the backgrounds and experiences of “others.”
Too often we look at issues that face communities of color and we see it as an issue that affects “others.” We don’t see it is our collective problem and we fail to recognize that we are the keepers of our own destiny. If we truly desire to make this world a better place, it starts with us.
Last semester, the Ford School hosted a powerful community discussion about race and although it was by no means comprehensive it inspired a group of students to take action.
We hope that this film serves as a launching point of inspiration to do something about the issues that we all face today. Further we hope that this brings us even closer together as a community so that we can move forward as one to tackle the challenges of both today and tomorrow.
This evening we will take you on a brief journey, Walking the Line of Blackness to give you a glimpse of what it is like to be Black at Ford, Black at Michigan, Black in America through our own, very personal lenses.
We must understand that apathy is silence and silence is consent. We must further challenge ourselves to have uncomfortable conversations and to see the world through the eyes of persons that may not look like us. Without that compassion, we do not stand a chance.
We invite you to walk the line of Blackness with us.