I had the privilege of being honored by some of the most intelligent young women in Atlanta. These ladies, future Presidential candidates, Scientist, Professors all carrying loads such as dual majors in Physics, Political Science, Genetics and other unpronounceable subjects -would drop the brightest smiles and jokes that made me feel as if I were talking to my younger sisters.
On campus and during my interactions with these Scholars, my heart yearned to absorb all the sights, sounds and emotions experienced. I wanted to bring it all back home -off campus, into our communities. However, it’s not easily transported off campus, knowing the realities of my neighbors. At times, there is such a disconnect, you would think we’re miles away instead of ONE block away.
Are we the group causing the disconnect?
A few weeks prior I recall receiving hundreds of “Tweets” with a hash tag of #homecoming. Honestly, I was annoyed that so many people had very little to talk about besides this event. I mean, the minute by minute tweets of “on the campus”, “remember it like yesterday”..”a great night with my sisters”.. “old dorm LOL” – and various other private YOU-HAD-TO-BE- THERE- jokes were a bit over whelming to a loner like myself. Overrated for someone who lived off campus, worked full-time in corporate and went to class in between the chaos of a 9-5 NYC hustle day.
But yesterday I got it.
What I “got”, was the unspoken but heart felt strength and love within the sister hood. In the stillness of “Sister Chapel” , among hundreds of women, I saw the bonds developed during those critical years when a teenage girl leaves home and comes into her own. The beauty I saw, was the ability to develop this identity in the presence of others similar to self (still beholding innocence), surrounded with faculty as loving and caring as a parent. Developing in this nurturing environment is why these ladies have the strength to do so much, and still smile. Weight is on their shoulders, but they are not being crushed by it, as they have each other to work through it. The event was touching. The award left me speechless. The lesson I learned is priceless.
At 35, the impact was great. Imagine the impact at 10 or 12,14,16. My daughters are always inspired after conversing with a college students – they are more than inspired, they are encouraged and future goals are reinforced. Confirmed. No, not by a nagging mother telling them what they “WILL” do, but by a young lady-wearing shiny shoes (as Leah calls heels) , soft-spoken and speaking confidently because SHE IS THERE.
Are we using our resources to attain these results in our communities? Or are too many of us- loners, always on the go, hustle to hustle trying to make ends meet without enough time to STOP and allow our children to view a different life to obtain different life results..? Are we so set in our ways, and molded by the coldness of our life experience to take the chance and see what we could learn from these students? Spelman is asking to be used.
Spelman College, dedicated to service and more importantly, they are dedicated to service within OUR communities. It is up to us parents, teachers, community leaders to reach out and ask for their support in our community projects. Each year a new class eagerly enters through the gates. Let’s not continue to keep the walls up. Let’s not continue to let the joke be on us… our children will lose an opportunity that may change their lives.
How will you work with Spelman College in 2013?
Of course I have Real Estate related partnerships in the works. Why do we not have more faculty living in our communities? This will change.
More Info on Spelman College:
Spelman College is a four-year liberal arts women’s college located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The college is part of the Atlanta University Center academic consortium in Atlanta. Founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, Spelman was the first historically black female institution of higher education to receive its collegiate charter in 1924. It thus holds the distinction of being America’s oldest historically black college for women.
Spelman is ranked among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Reports. The college is ranked among the top 50 four-year colleges and universities for producing Fulbright Scholars, and was ranked the second largest producer of African-American college graduates who attend medical school. Forbes magazine ranks Spelman among the nation’s top ten best women’s colleges. Moreover, Spelman has been ranked the #1 regional college in the South by U.S. News and World Report and is ranked among the Best 373 Colleges and Universities in America by the Princeton Review.
The daughters of Bill Cosby, Henry Louis Gates, Gerald Levert, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sidney Poitier attended Spelman. Spelman is also the alma mater of several notable Americans including the Executive Vice President of Walmart, Rosalind Brewer, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Alice Walker, Dean of Harvard College, Evelynn M. Hammonds and actress, Keshia Knight Pulliam.