We had a big event on campus yesterday. Renowned poet and professor Maya Angelou, our beloved provost emeritus and professor of English Ed Wilson (’43) (a.k.a. “Mr. Wake Forest”) and Dr. Johnnetta Cole spoke at a Dignity and Respect event. This was held in Brendle Recital Hall and was standing room only. However, the event was livestreamed online, and for those of you (or your students) who wish to watch it, it is available online.
These are three tremendous speakers. Dr. Angelou gave just a hint of her remarkable singing voice toward the end of her remarks. (Aside: I heard her once do a poetry reading when I was a student here, and she sang a bit at the end. She has a deep, rich, voice. So amazing.) She concluded her remarks yesterday with this great quote: “Each one of you has the possibility, the promise, of being a rainbow in somebody’s cloud.” Beautiful.
This event yesterday had a lot to do with how we treat our fellow human beings with dignity and respect – no matter who they are or what their job is or whether you like them or don’t, or agree with their beliefs, or you share their skin color or not. If we really want our students to live the Pro Humanitate motto, we need to offer our students opportunities to reflect on themselves and the world, to be exposed to people different than they are – so that they can see our shared common humanity. Many thanks to our Office of Diversity and Inclusion for providing that type of opportunity for reflection.
If your student didn’t attend, please let them know the livestream is out there. And watch it too, Deac families. This was a wonderful series of remarks.