From the Black Cultural Center
As we move towards the beginning of a new school year, the role of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center (BCC) cannot be more clear. The BCC exists to serve our entire campus community, including students, faculty and staff of all races and ethnicities, all genders, all backgrounds.
As a Center, we strive to work with our Dean of Students and University partners to foster greater understanding, so that our students—the future leaders of America and the world—will better understand the problems caused by racism, prejudice, and injustice. That, ultimately, is why a Center like the BCC exists, to help us all realize what Dr. King called, “The Beloved Community.”
In The Fire Next Time, the famed writer James Baldwin calls upon “relatively conscious whites” and “relatively conscious blacks” to come together, in love, to “end the racial nightmare” and “achieve our country.” We all know that at this very moment our Vanderbilt students, of all backgrounds, are spread across the country, and the world, grappling with these tragedies, these senseless acts of violence across the country and throughout our world.
We, as a Vanderbilt community, do not know the emotional effects of these tragedies on individual students, but as a Black Cultural Center, we are committed to helping our students grapple with tragic events such as these, in a manner which will allow them to maintain a sense of well-being. As a Center, we hope, and we seek, to help students maintain a sense of wholeness, even as they mature into adults who are equipped with a level of intercultural agility that will help them better understand and approach the persistent issues of difference and division plaguing our world. This hope, on our part, may be somewhat idealistic and perhaps even a bit naïve but as naïve as it may be, they, our students, are the future and we believe that they can make this world a better place.