Happy Summer-finally! If you’re anything like me and have had your annual fill of the cold and snow you can’t wait to be miserably happy in the heat of summer! By now you’ve probably realized I’m not Anne Popp Lewis, our gracious Alumni Association President who has allowed me to take over this month’s President’s Message. Thank you, Anne!
As we all begin to transition our attire and shed the layers to combat the heat, I would encourage us all to don an extra layer of active accountability, and compassion over the next few months and beyond. The month of May we all witnessed unthinkable acts on innocent people across the Nation. From the racially motivated attacks on Black shoppers in Buffalo, New York, to the senseless school shooting in Uvalde, Texas and the many other horrific mass shootings that took place, there is a consistent truth revealed in that life is precious. We must all cherish the opportunities that we have for as long as we have them. Being accountable to ourselves should motivate us to speak up in opposition against all forms of hate and wrongdoing when we witness it. Active accountability should encourage us to seek out ways we can pursue solution-oriented initiatives for the issues we face today. Doing so in a compassionate manner allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of those most effected by the issues that may or may not have a direct impact on us. Being intentional about doing good has never been more necessary.
Now, as June is upon us, we have to stand guard of the “Maybe next time” default button we sometimes grow accustomed to hitting whenever opportunity comes knocking. (That button is covered in my fingertips by the way). There will be plenty of chances this month to get active! I’d encourage everyone this year to celebrate Juneteenth, which dates back to 1865 as the oldest commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States (www.Juneteenth.com). Members of the Black Alumni Network and Shenandoah will be participating in the Juneteenth celebration at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV)(https://www.themsv.org/events/juneteenth-celebration/) on Sunday, June 19, if you have not already made plans to celebrate. MSV is hosting the event in collaboration with the local chapter of the NAACP. Happy Pride Month to all of our LGBTQI+ alums and community! There are many Pride events to get involved in to celebrate, learn and support the LGBTQI+ community so take advantage and find a local or national event.
Lastly, to our newest alums, the Class of 2022- Welcome! After your career at Shenandoah, I hope you learned there is no pool on the top floor of the Smith Library. Don’t wait to get involved into the Alumni Association. There are so many great resources and networking opportunities to plug into to help slingshot you to success!
If there is ever anything I can do to help, please reach out to me at Ripprobs@gmail.com.
All the Best,
Rippert Roberts III
Founding President, SU Black Alumni Network