Posted with permission from the author.
November 26, 2015
Dear TRIO UB Community,
Many people in our community are hurting. I write today to acknowledge and validate this trauma and collective pain. I also write, on this day of thanks, to encourage self and community love. I am a firm believer that in times of distress, healing lies in the embrace and love of community and through the empowerment of constructive action.
Over the last two weeks our community has been impacted by a multitude of societal problems. From the homicide of Jamar Clark, a 24 year old unarmed Black man in North Minneapolis by local law enforcement, to the subsequent terrorism of peaceful protestors by white supremacists, to the heinous shooting on the Southside of Minneapolis that took the lives of individuals close to members in our TRIO UB community, to the xenophophic rhetoric and discrimination aimed at our Muslim and immigrant brothers and sisters pre and proceeding the attacks in Paris, Beruit, Mali, Nigeria and Kenya, to discrimination many of our alumni may face in colleges and universities both locally and across the nation, I acknowledge your hurt and frustration. Even as I type these words, I realize that they likely fail encapsulate the range of atrocities we are facing locally and globally as well as the array of emotions brought on from these events.
In this time of turmoil, my hope is that we flip our pain, frustration, confusion and anger into curiosity, community love and positive action. I encourage everyone to educate yourself on these and other issues. While ignorance (and ignoring) can be blissful (and less stressful), knowledge is truly powerful. Upward Bound and other TRIO programs across the nation were born from people feeling similar emotions and working through those emotions to promote action and policy change. Unchecked anger, ignorance and hurt is, in my opinion, what got us here in the first place. As beneficiaries of programming born from social and collective action, I believe that each of us has a responsibility to work to advance equity while we simultaneously work to advance ourselves.
Healing often happens through action. One of the biggest actions you can take is to continue to shine and demonstrate success. While easier said than done, please do not let this turmoil stop you from actualizing your own dreams. In A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson wrote:
“...as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.”
Your success is revolutionary and the future of our society and our community is wrapped up, very much, in you.
On this day, I am thankful for each of you and am hopeful in our collective and individual ability to see beyond hate, fear and hurt to come together to love, heal and work; there is much to do.
Minerva S. Munoz, Director, TRIO UB | CEHD | UMNTC
Editor's note: TRIO Upward Bound (TRIO UB) is an academic and college preparatory program funded by the US Department of Education. The purpose of TRIO UB is to develop the skills and motivation necessary for students to successfully complete high school and to enter and succeed in college. The University of Minnesota's TRIO Upward Bound program is housed in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). They are funded to serve 118 Minneapolis 9-12th graders from North Senior Academy, Edison Sr. High School and South High School. TRIO UB at the University of Minnesota has served Minneapolis high school youth and families since 1966.