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An open letter of support to The Black Action Movement 1998

By Stephen John Quaye, Associate Professor & Activist

I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I need you.

I see you.

I see you as you walk across campus, sometimes with your heads down, trying to appear unnoticed. I see you as you study in King Library trying to make it on Miami's campus. I saw you in the Shade Family room, laced with images of people who don't look like you, as you shared your voices during an Open Mic Night focused on "Tell 'Em Why You're Angry." I see you as you laugh because of the joy you experience even in the midst of so much pain.

I hear you.

I hear you as your voices shake, as you stake your claim on this university where you are often unheard. I heard you as you spoke out on Thursday, Nov. 12 on the Seal in Armstrong, where you voiced your anger and frustration with a campus climate that often feels so chilly. I hear you as you advocate for your needs, as you demand that administrators, faculty, staff and students on this campus address the racism that is so pervasive.

I feel you.

I felt the pain as a graduate student at Miami from 2002-2004. I felt the isolation. The stares. The invisibility. The racial slurs. The silence. The inaction. I wanted to just graduate, forget Miami, and move on. I feel the pain now even as a faculty member, but I decided to come back for you, for me. I feel you, as you look on Yik Yak, hurt by the anonymous comments of your peers calling you racist names, mocking your activism, silencing your pain.

I need you.

I need you to know that you are not alone. I need you to know that I am here - a Black faculty member who is fighting, too. I need you to keep showing up even when it's hard. I know it's a lot to ask, and yet, I know you keep doing it anyway. I need you to keep using your voices even when you face resistance, threats and insults. I need you to keep coming together in solidarity even in the face of insurmountable odds. I need you to keep organizing, engaging in activism even though so many might think your voices don't matter. I need you to keep being you - brave, bold, passionate students who want their campus to enact the values of diversity it espouses.

You matter. You are worthy of being heard. Keep going. Keep showing up, and I promise I will keep walking alongside you. And when it gets too much, you're allowed to take a break and know that someone else will step in to support you.

I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I need you.