A Change Is Gonna Come, written and beautifully sung by Sam Cooke is one of my favorite songs. While his lyrics are sad, Sam’s song offers a message of hope – of freedom – of equality. Doing my best to cling to this hope, I try not to focus on racial oppression that continues to haunt African Descendants of Slavery and other Black peoples, worldwide. As a child of the Civil Rights Movement, I thought that hatred centered on the social construct of race and immutable skin pigmentation would soon end. Obviously, hate is growing.
Awakening to news of Jacksonville, Florida’s, Dollar Tree Store Massacre was heart wrenching. Three more “innocent” Black souls, who simply dared to shop in their “own neighborhood”, were wiped out in a hail of bullets, fired by a young white man. The gunman had first stopped at a historically Black college compounded my pain. No wonder students attending alma maters like my own are stressed beyond measure. The omnipresence of hate makes them fear for their safety. My alma mater sits on 800 acres of beautiful, tree-filled acres of land in Alabama. It’s situated only twenty minutes from Auburn University. When my husband and I took our children there for a campus visit years ago, I was astonished to enter a tall, iron gate surrounding it and even more astonished to encounter a security gate with a guard house, manned by an armed guard. Students were on hiatus, so the guard declined my request to go onto campus. Never would I have imagined that my university would require any security – let alone that of this magnitude. I am thankful, though, that students living and studying within its gates are protected. That is, if they stay inside the cocoon.