You will never understand HBCUs unless you have attended one.
There is so much to say about these safe spaces that nurtured and taught us to be firm in who we are. Unfortunately, outside of our HBCU bubbles exists a world that despises us simply for the way we look. It’s exciting to see the younger generations latch on to politics and effect change. Their zeal and enthusiasm are much needed and we must protect them at all costs.
This past weekend, two Spelhouse students, 20-year-old Spelman College student Taniyah Pilgrim and 22-year-old Morehouse College student Messiah Young, were near downtown Atlanta when they were confronted by a group of six overly aggressive Atlanta Police Officers and terrorized. As they tried to flag down a classmate of theirs to offer a ride, the two students were forced out of their vehicle, attacked, tased, and sent to jail.
Spelhouse alumni everywhere were outraged. It’s one thing to talk about alumni giving but Spelhouse alums breathe life into the art of raising money and creating resources for Spelhouse students. Immediately, Attorneys Kanika Sloan Williams and Joslyn Jackson notified Spelhouse Alum groups of what happened. Next, Spelhouse attorneys banned together to work tirelessly behind the scenes to raise money and provide pro-bono services to ensure that Taniyah and Messiah were released. Everyone else? They donated. The rest is history.
Kanika Sloan and Joslyn Jackson are Spelman College Alumnae who, in addition to their careers as top attorneys, dedicate their time to raising money for Spelhouse students and providing pro-bono services.
Tiombe Nucklos O’Rourke, also a Spelman College Alumna, has created 1881 True Blue for the sole purpose of raising money to assist Spelhouse students so they can get through college without the anxiety of financial securities.
So many people in the Spelhouse community- legal and at large- banded together to make sure Taniyah and Messiah had the resources they needed. Both Spelman and Morehouse’s Student Government Associations spoke out about their arrest. Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell and Morehouse College President David Thomas issued statements of support for Taniyah and Messiah. The SpelHouse community continues to stand ready to give Taniyah and Messiah any support they require in the future.
THAT is what HBCUs are about.
HBCUs are love.
HBCUs are unity.
HBCUs are powerhouses.
HBCUs have produced some of the most powerful people in this country. This entire story is a testimony to what it means to be Spelhouse well beyond graduation. To whom much is given, much is required. This may be an unsettling time for HBCUs but even through a pandemic and riots, Spelhouse alumni have come together and proved that nothing will stop the bond we have with one another. We have a long fight ahead of us but one thing is for sure, we are each other’s keeper and we will protect one another by any means necessary.