By Andrew Shuman ’19
In honor of Black History Month and all those who have lost their lives in the Civil Rights Movement, ALANA hosted an event on Feb. 28, where Gordon students, faculty and administration members stood and marched together.
Gathered at Gordon’s chapel bell, ALANA leaders passed out candles to the Gordon community. Nicholas Rowe of Student Life began the event with reflections and quotations from Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on racial reconciliation. He cited, “I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother in law.”
Nigesca Maxime ‘18, ALANA leader, said, “I think it went very well with Dr. Rowe’s speech about the brother in law, and using that analogy to understanding the reason why we are walking and the reason why we are honoring the people who have lost their lives, and just people genuinely wanting to be there on one accord, and that was really beautiful to see.”
The community walked arm-in-arm toward the Gazebo after Rowe’s speech, carrying their candles in solidarity.
When asked about the participation of the administration in the march, Maxime responded, “It was really beautiful to see, because in order to be led by these people, they also have to show us that they support the things that they’re leading us in. The administration showed that they hold the title and oversee all of these things, and also that they care.”
At the Gazebo, there was a time of prayer where the group was encouraged to remember the lives of civil rights leaders such as Dr. King, but also to remember the names of those who have died in the modern struggle for racial equality, and those who have died at the hands of police brutality. A few of those names were spoken in this time of reflection. The group was also encouraged to spend time interacting with one another.
The last stretch of the march brought the group in front of Jenks Library where Daniel Machado gave a speech. Machado detailed a racist encounter that he had had earlier that day with a white woman at Bank of America in Beverly. In the incident, the woman expressed fear towards Machado because of an item she was unable to identify in his hand. She feared Machado was carrying a gun. Machado asked those gathered to reflect on the incident, and to question what created that anxiety in the woman. He brought into light the reality surrounding the modern fight for racial equality, and the struggle that persons of color and marginalized groups still continue to wade through even after the struggles of civil rights movements. Machado concluded with the point, “legality is not morality.”
In his words, “we as humans are finite and can’t reflect on morality in its totality due to its divine nature. Because of this – legality which is the collection of policies and laws made by us, we can never in the same sense reflect on morality in its totality. History gives us the examples of slavery and Jim Crowe.” After Machado’s speech, the event concluded with a prayer.
Prayer was a constant throughout the march and was intertwined into each moment of reflection given to the group following speeches made. Wislene Augustine ‘19 commented about the intersection between faith and social justice as a community and the ability and importance for its involvement at Gordon.
She said, “I really do think it is important as a community for us to come together in these discussions because we are growing up in a very diverse world, and our neighbors are not people that look like us. So in order to actually be christians, to actually be, and create a community that represents Christ – we have to be able to encounter others, and encounter people who are not like us and learn from them, and learn from their perspectives… God is a multi faceted God, and that god created every single one of us for a reason to be able to learn from each other.”
Augustine continued, “I believe that Gordon’s mission is to send leaders out to serve globally, and I believe that if we are not being immersed into culturally diverse conversations, and conversations of racial reconciliation at Gordon – then how are we going to be able to go out into the world?”