On Wednesday, February 12 the Gonzaga community came together in the Carmody Center for its annual Black History Month assembly. Hosted by ONYX, Gonzaga’s black and multi-cultural student association, the event featured student poems and musical performances as well as a keynote address by Mr. Michael Molina, an educator and non-profit leader who was recently named the new head of the Bishop Walker School for Boys in Southeast DC.
Through poems, stories, and interactive exercises with the students, Molina gave an inspirational talk that touched on such themes as resilience, resistance, and rising up. "African American history is as complex and fascinating, as diverse and compelling a story of freedom America has ever written,” he said.
He talked about Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision for the beloved community—the notion that we can live at peace with each other. “It does not mean we always get along,” he said. “I’m certain there might be times when you all don’t get along perfectly. But what the beloved community asks us to do is what you all did when you investigated and researched your school’s history, what America does at its best and needs to do more of: to acknowledge its fault, acknowledge its need for redemption and reconciliation. You don’t overlook conflict, you deal with it peacefully, respectfully, lovingly.”
During the assembly, two students read original poems: Jetsus Johnson '20, who is president of the ONYX Club, read “Letters To”
and Kevin Donalson '21 read “She is the Oak.”
In addition, Tre McGuire '20 performed the Negro National Anthem. Here's a video recap of the assembly:
Devon Leary, Gonzaga’s Associate Dean of Diversity and Student Life, ended the assembly by encouraging students to listen to people whose life experiences are different from their own: “When every member of the Gonzaga community feels welcome here, when we celebrate our varied cultures, and when we explore and celebrate our differences, our community gets stronger.”