The recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor speak to the institutional racism that plagues our community, state and nation. As president of the only historically black university in St. Louis, I feel it critical to address these unspeakable tragedies, systemic discrimination and unjust racial disparities that continue to plague our country.
HBCUs have a strong history of serving as incubators of civil rights activity, civil discourse and community engagement. Activist forums and civic engagement have always been a part of our cultural fabric. Harris-Stowe State University is committed to supporting the growing need for advocacy, mobilizing generations to be at the center of the fight for equality and justice. This work is as relevant today as it was many years ago.
As a part of our commitment to finding solutions to address these issues, Harris-Stowe State University will commit itself to serve as an intellectual think tank to critically analyze these pertinent issues and create workable solutions that can positively affect our communities.
The great resiliency of African Americans and the evolving nature of America's culture gives me hope that we will one day eradicate the hatefulness of racism. Without question, the Civil Rights Movement had a major impact on our society, yet more work must be done. Today, we the people have become complacent in our desire for a more perfect union for all its people. We need real reforms; institutional racism is systemic. We must legislate to fix the inequalities in education, health care, housing, employment, policing, and the criminal justice system.
Now is the time for our national leaders to hold themselves accountable and enact laws that will finally end the devaluing and marginalizing of black men and women in America. We are all equal and should be treated fairly with the same compassion. We can only move forward as a country when we value everyone. For the sake of humanity, racism must end.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."
Harris-Stowe is committed to fostering a community that is willing to drive positive change and change the status quo. In the meantime, please know that our campus resources are available should you need help in processing these recent events.
Corey S. Bradford Sr. is president of Harris-Stowe State University.