Every End A New Beginning

Dear Students of Wheelock

We find ourselves this week in a mini-apocalypse of sorts. Wheelock will merge with Boston University, and the school in its current format will come to an end. With it, the Communications and Media Literacy program will close after a 9-year run where I had the pleasure to teach many of you. Full disclosure, I learned as much as I taught. In the time since I started teaching Media and Race in 2006, the world has changed. The work we did in class around media and the way it shapes our society, particularly around race, was grounded in theory but splashed across the headlines more times than I would have liked—I taught through attacks on Muslims, the Occupy Movement, the birth of Black Lives Matter and the Rise of the Alt-right to the White House. As the world seems to descend into chaos I have been blessed to see the shining hope that each of you represents to the world. In our darkest hours, I have assured people around me that the next generation—your generation—are truly the heroes that we need to navigate these treacherous times. Your own hopefulness in the face of pain, your development of a deep knowledge of injustice and the systems that support it, your tireless persistence in chanting down those who would oppress the marginalized makes me believe that the apocalypse will find us in a brave new world, one that truly manifests the most beautiful of American ideals—equality and justice for all.

I want to thank each of you for allowing me the honor of being your professor, your advisor, and your mentor. I stand in awe of your collective power. I am moved by the hundreds of personal stories where you have overcome hardship to work for an education. I am grateful to bear witness to the thousand times you struggled to learn and to grow to prepare for the singular purpose of making the world a better place. I will forever hold the memories of you in your pivotal moments at Wheelock—times that you stood up and pushed back, the hard times where we all grew the most, and the fun times from battle rapping in class to dancing with Xclusive.

I am eternally grateful to have the chance to touch so many of your lives, and I hope only that you will remember and pass on the knowledge that we built and shared together. We know that the apocalypse is never an end, only an unveiling of the truth, of the world as it is, though perhaps not what we want it to be. But it is only in the cold light of truth that we can see clearly enough to build.  I feel I armed each of you with the weapons I have to share to fight injustice. I hope you will use them to carve out the new worlds we have imagined together.

I love you all.

SXJ

 

Susan X Jane

Susan X Jane is a diversity educator, speaker, and trainer. A former professor and youth worker, she now consults with organizations looking to make sense of our current cultural shift. She thinks a lot about media and race…a lot, and writes and speaks about media…and race... and generally encourages everyone she meets to think about the way our identity shapes our experiences, ideas, and beliefs about the world. If you're reading this, she wants you to think about it too. Want to talk about it? Let's go.

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