Dear Benedict (and all HBCU) Students,
All day, I have watched social media and news with horror as protests have borne out of an act of racial violence – the murder of George Floyd - turned to violent demonstrations and even riots. As an African American, I fully understand the hurt, anger, and utter frustration that drives us to this point. The psychological trauma inflicted on African Americans every time a black life is cut short unnecessarily by a uniformed officer, cannot be understated, nor can it be dismissed. However, we must govern ourselves strategically and with discipline. We are strong, resilient, committed, and brilliant. We must organize, plan, and use our collective voices to bring about the change we seek.
I am asking you to do three (3) things:
1) Control Your Coins - Consistent, sustained economic pressure. We must stop spending and investing our money into businesses that do not respect and appreciate our buying power. Do not shop in stores where you are followed, ignored, or treated rudely. We must never reward ignorance or disrespect. Today we have seen individuals post cruel and racist statements, jokes, and pictures. Take note of where those people work. Report them and refuse to support the businesses that employ them.
2) VOTE. NEVER allow an election to occur without casting your VOTE. Educate yourself on the issues that impact our communities and vote out prosecutors and other elected officials who turn a deaf ear on the needs of our people. Attend candidate forums, write letters, attend meetings, volunteer, and yes, donate to the campaigns of the candidates you believe in. History has demonstrated that we are a powerful voting block and when we show up!
3) Get Educated. Benjamin E. Mays said, "Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living, and no man dead, and no man yet to be born, could do it any better." Strive for deeper understanding. Be thoroughly educated on the issues so that you can advocate intelligently for the things that matter. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by sound bites. Study, read, and ask questions. Embrace knowledge!
Students you are POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE! They want you to riot so they will have an excuse to cage you like an animal or worse! You have the right to peacefully assemble and to demonstrate to make your feelings known. But don’t just hold a sign – write a letter. Don’t just yell in protest – call your Senator, Congressman, Mayor, or Prosecutor. Don’t just assemble – organize.
LET US TURN THIS UNIMAGINABLE PAIN INTO POWER! #WeAreDoneDying! #HBCUStrong! #TheBESTofBC
I LOVE YOU. I BELIEVE IN YOU.
Now govern yourselves as the Kings and Queens you are.
Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis has earned for the second time in history, the distinct honor of serving as the first-female President of a collegiate institution in the United States. On June 30, 2017, Dr. Artis was unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees as the 14th President of Benedict College. She is the first-female President in the 147-year history of the college which was founded by a woman, Mrs. Bathsheba Benedict, in 1870.
Dr. Artis comes to Benedict College from Florida Memorial University in Miami where she served for four years as the 13th President and the first female President in that University’s 138-year history. During her tenure, she provided immeasurable leadership and direction to the Florida Memorial University family. Among her many achievements were the significant technology enhancements on campus, new facility construction, innovative partnerships, as well as increased national exposure and resource development for the institution in the areas of STEM, Cybersecurity, and Social Justice. Dr. Artis is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she earned a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy.