Black Student Union Speakers Stress Tolerance

Andres Trevino ’17

Every year during Black History month Strake Jesuit’s very own Black Student Union hosts a speaker or in this case speakers to talk to the student body. This year’s talk, on February 22 during an all-school assembly, focused on “Learning from Our Past to Progress into Our Future.” The five speakers were all alumni of Strake Jesuit: Mr. James Plummer ’65, Mr. Alan Bergeron ’77, Mr. Patrick Trahan ’81, Mr. Marcus Ford ’95, and Mr. Joey Brooks ’09. Each of these gentlemen is a highly successful African American man who has taken the core Ignatian values they learned at Strake Jesuit and put them to good use in their own lives.

Each of the speakers also grew up in a different time period; they all had to face their own unique obstacles that made them who they are today. Having unique experiences also meant that each of the men had a certain opinion on current issues. One topic that emerged was immigration. About our nation’s current efforts to restrict travel to America from certain Muslim nations, Mr. Joey Brooks reminded everyone that our nation was ” built on the backs of immigrants,” such as slaves from Africa, Germans, and even Asian peoples, and without immigrants, our society would be dull and stale. Immigration has strengthened our country, he pointed out, and to exaggerate its dangers is unacceptable.

The speakers also addressed the Back Lives Matter movement. Mr. Marcus Ford said that the asserting “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean that white lives don’t matter or that any other races’ lives don’t matter. It means that at the moment African Americans are in greater danger of being discriminated against and attacked.

Each panelist addressed progress he had seen in our since they were students at Strake Jesuit. Mr. Plummer, Mr. Bergeron, and Mr. Trahan all grew up in a time of heavy discrimination. When they were at Strake Jesuit there were very few other African Americans at the school with them. However, every single graduate praised the fact that Jesuit had come so far as a community in promoting the values of tolerance and diversity. They said that Jesuit had become a place where students of all backgrounds want to be, where they feel welcomed and valued.

The panelists emphasized the importance of acceptance and understanding, how we must put ourselves in other people’s shoes and try to see their struggles and tribulations, how we must be the change we want to see in the world.