Since March, our team has been processing COVID-19, financial instability and loss, and the Black Lives Matter movement with our students. We are grateful that your support through the years is allowing us to do this important work with our students.
In the spirit of our student-centered work and the Black Lives Matter movement, we would like to share a letter written by one of our students. Thank you for the many ways that you support Access Opportunity and thank you for giving our students a chance to be heard.
Hi, I'm Jocelyn. I write to you today with a heavy heart.
I'll start by saying thank you for supporting Access Opportunity. I am an AO student and will be a junior at Colorado State University this fall. AO provides opportunities for students like me who are typically underprivileged and underrepresented in higher academia, allowing us to excel in our academic and career endeavors. Education is the key.
Your resources give me confidence in my future. Whether you realize it or not, you have invested in me, and I work hard every day to make sure it pays off. Because of your investment, I ask you this favor: please continue fighting for justice for Black Americans like myself. Our demand to stop unjust killings is in question because looters have stolen the spotlight. But police brutality and systemic racism doesn't just affect Black people. It affects all of us.
Black people don't have the right to kneel at a flag that represents our freedom, but police have the right to kneel on us, murder us, and get away with it.
After this pandemic is over and after our economy recuperates, my protesting cannot stop. I am a Black woman. Graduating college is my protest against the misogyny and segregation that built our education system. Colleges have been around since the 1600s, but it wasn't until 1862 that the first Black woman attended college. And even then, she was restricted from certain classes and had to sit in the "Black Section." Colleges plaster faces that look like mine on their brochures and catalogues to demonstrate their campus "diversity." But at predominantly white institutions, a very small percentage of students are Black and we never see each other in the same classroom, unless it's a Race/Ethnicity course. I'm told I "sound white," because a Black person who is educated and speaks without slang doesn't fit the stereotype of being Black. I'm told I'm "pretty for a Black girl," because Black is not the standard of beauty. I'm told if I don't like the state of the country, to go back to Africa - but I was born here. I drive with my license and registration in the cup holder of my car, because too many people who look like me have been shot and killed, because a police officer "mistakenly" thought that they were armed.
I protest for my life; to fix an America that wasn't built for me to thrive in.
Please continue to support AO and its students by doing your own research. Here are some of my favorite resources: accessopportunity.org/antiracism-resources. Don't stop with the Black Lives Matter movement. If you want to continue, be courageous: get uncomfortable and have difficult conversations with your peers and loved ones. Protesting comes in many forms. Your voice matters. Help Access Opportunity continue to fight systemic racism, structural inequity, prejudice, and irrational and unconscious fears that have been perpetuated by the media and instilled in our society. History is written by the victors, which until today, have not been people of color. Be an Ally, and help me write history.
With Strength and Love,