Educators across the nation continue to vilify Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; and for good reason. She seeks the destruction of public education. This is why I and others were confused when we learned that the Administration of Bethune-Cookman University invited her to give a commencement address. I felt it strange that any accredited university would involve the billionaire in their graduation celebration primarily because she has no educational experience. Add to that fact that HBCU is a black college, and I was more confused. But the graduates and the student body refused to accept DeVos and took what I believe was an appropriate response.
As DeVos began to speak, a very loud chorus of ‘boos’ erupted. Eventually the graduates stood, and turned their backs to the dais.
HBCU’s president, Edison Jackson admonished the crowd, but they ignored his plea.
Should the graduates have reacted so vehemently? Take a look at a single comment which either displayed her arrogance or her ignorance about the existence of ‘black colleges,’ which were initially an effort to expand segregation in our nation.
“HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”
Prior to the Civil Rights Act, black Americans had no ‘choice.’ They were not allowed to attend all-white universities.
Jackson attempted to explain his choice of DeVos’ invitation to speak at the event.
“We have always been in the business of making friends, and if you don’t have friends, it’s very difficult to raise money. Her department controls roughly 80% of Title IV monies, as well as grants. So why wouldn’t we want to make friends?”
The graduates refused to support the choice of DeVos whose ‘voucher program’ would virtually eliminate public schools in our inner cities.
During the speech, a sophomore, Bobbie Luke, right fist aloft, was escorted out of the Ocean Center. He told CNN he didn’t know why he was removed. “I’m standing with my seniors, man. No one likes her, man. Period,” he said. “I don’t like what she said, and nothing at the end of the day is going to change my opinion.”
“Protesting is patriotic.” Standing up for the principles of the Constitution and those who signed the Law of the Land is an act which expresses loyalty to the people, and an admonition towards our failed government.
The fact is undeniable. In 20 years these young men and women who voiced their objections to DeVos will be in control of the United States of America. Old men and women who represent the ‘status quo’ will either be gone from their positions of power, or in their graves. This is my hope for America.
The old, white men who now control our government think negatively, and in a backwards fashion. They reject the inevitable changes in our nation. They continue to believe in white supremacy, and prejudice towards all Americans who fail to fit into their antiquated vision of our nation.
Now, with an immoral and unfit president, the worst, the dark past of America has come out of the shadows.
I commend all of our nation’s people who are protesting and taking action to remove this administration from Washington. They will take America back for the people, and end the oppressive rule of Trump and his circle of sinners.
by James Turnage
Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey
Follow me on twitter; @jamesturnagenov