In June, I wrote a letter to Rockford University students wherein I said: “Our mission is to educate our student body to be better prepared to make change and seek to fix the cause, not react to the symptoms, of systemic racism that carries with it a 300-year legacy of racial inequality that began before our nation even started.”
I continued: “it took nearly a century from the signing of the declaration of independence to the abolition of slavery. It took nearly another century for the civil rights movement to change the laws. We now have only another forty years until we reach the next century mark -- and we still have so much work to do.”
Since that time, we’ve had the beginnings of dialogue across our nation. It seems as though real change is on the cusp. However, I am also afraid that amidst a continuing pandemic and forthcoming election circus, real change may stall.
And so I ask myself: what can we do? What role can we play to keep the dialogue alive while finding concrete ways to turn said dialogue into action?
I have lived in Rockford since 2008. In that time I have grown to love this city – its diversity, its potential, and (to borrow a phrase from a friend) its grittiness. None of this should be easy, clear, and without risk. Indeed, for progress, for change, to happen, we need to be ready to take action that is difficult, messy, and full of risk. It is how we move forward. It is where, I believe, Rockford and its University can excel.
I’m Michael Perry, and that’s my Perspective.