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From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all of the time.

–James Baldwin-


Dear Wilberforceans:

We are justifiably outraged by the events of the past week as we watched the gut-wrenching, senseless and inhumane killing of George Floyd. It is deeply unfortunate that in the pleading voice and tortured face of George Floyd, we see ourselves and the countless other African Americans whose lives have been snuffed out. We are, at once, unsettled by the eminent possibility that it could happen to any one of us and enraged that this threat to our humanity still exists in America today. It is unfair that the promise of a future is compromised for every young black man and woman by ingrained attitudes and beliefs by many simply because of their race. This is the persistent and lamentable reality of our life as black folk in a nation unwilling and unable to simply live up to the ideals established at its founding.

We want and need to do something to demand that this nation lives up to the promise of equality and just treatment for all of its citizens. The groundswell of resistance that we see throughout the nation is an understandable response to a nation and the cruel system of unvarnished racism. At Wilberforce, we spring from a tradition of social activism and fighting for social justice and we have proudly informed our students of that tradition. As we make personal decisions to join in this legitimate expression of democratic resistance, I urge all members of the Wilberforce University family to be safe, law-abiding and non-violent. While it is our right to be angry it is also our responsibility to honor the legacies of David Walker, Denmark Vesey, Harriett Tubman, Bayard Rustin, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and their example of disciplined and principled resistance to injustice.

Peacefully protesting inequality is part of our democracy and there is an incredible power and strength in numbers because our lives matter individually and collectively. As a University community we have historically demonstrated our capacity for goodness and forgiveness in the face of intractable racism. But we have never cowered or retreated from our calling to be at the forefront of the fight for civil and human rights for our community. The fearlessness of our young will lead us to a better tomorrow and a nation finally able to embrace the humanity of all.

We are Wilberforce Strong.

Suo Marte.

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