Letter to the editor: Alum asks for divestment

I’m not going to renew my giving to Guilford College this year. Not because I was not transformed by the education and community there, I was. Not because I don’t care about the students attending this year or next year, I do. But more than these, I care about the students who are not there now or who might not have a chance 50 years from today.

I truly believe that I would not be who I am today if it were not for the people who shaped me at Guilford. If it were not for late nights turning into early mornings at the Hut, I might not have come to know God’s love and light in the way I do. If it were not for too much coffee, and perhaps too much consensus, at the Greenleaf and in Senate, I might not hold my deep convictions that justice and democracy are possible and inextricable. Every day I walked past those core values on the quad and felt proud to be majoring in a discipline upholding two of them: community and justice.

You may have heard the whispers and the stories that there is magic all around that campus. You can feel it electric on your skin before dawn, heading to the airport, when you catch the gaze of a deer and you both pause and breathe, recognizing that of God. It is in the feeling of that first break, visiting family or high school friends when you think to yourself or say out loud that you are ready to go home. In that moment, realizing Guilford has been transformed and it is a part of you. A few years and many hundred miles away, I feel I can still know the scent of the seasons. I am sure the campus is alive right now with spring, flowers and possibility.

It was through my love of Guilford that I learned the tarnished history of Greensboro: from the brilliance and courage of the Four who sat down at Woolworths to those who would later be shot by Klansmen for their vision of a world beyond racism and a world of work with dignity.

It was there I played two-hand touch with members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, and through knowing them was taught about the injustice of our police and prison systems. But I also learned about the privilege I had to be attending such a place as Guilford.

If not for Guilford, I don’t know if I would have been a part of the Movement for Black Lives or Occupy, with friends in the Fight for 15 and fighting for education in North Carolina. I owe the path I’m on as an organizer to what I became through all I read and all I wrote and all we spoke about with such urgency at all hours because a better world felt possible, and most days, it still does.

So do not let it be said that I do not care for, or deeply love, that which is the soul of Guilford: the community.

The world I want to live in is one where there are no prisons. The world I want to live in is one where we are in alignment with the planet. The world I want to live in is one where Palestinians have the right to self-determination and the right to return, where there are no more apartheid states.

The vast majority of people affected by climate change, the prison industrial complex and Israeli apartheid do not go to Guilford (although there are many affected who do). It is out of my love for these people, and for the future of humanity, that I am choosing to withhold my giving until the endowment is in alignment with these values. When that day comes, I will eagerly return as a donor with even more pride for my alma mater.