The Voorhees College Black History Month opening program was virtually embraced by a message from guest speaker Dr. Rolundus “Dapper Dean” Rice about African-Americans being on Earth for serious business highlighting the institution’s tagline: Begin. Believe. Become. to achieve change.
Rice said before students can Begin, they must plan or study, referencing E.D. Nixon, Jo Ann Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks, who all planned before making a change.
He mentioned that Believe means to accept something as truth. “We must believe we are equal to anyone because it is the unshakeable bedrock of personhood. Believe that regardless of the color of your skin, you are entitled to hold yourselves in the same esteem as anyone else.”
Rice discussed that Become simply means to be aware that something is coming to pass or an experience of the manifestation from efforts put in overtime. “Before President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Senator Raphael Warnock, could be the firsts, black people had to labor and protest for the right to vote.”
He added how black voter suppression from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s was at an all-time high. It required planning and collaboration to achieve equality.
“Understand Voorhees College we are drinking from wells we did not build. All of us are enjoying the shade of trees we did not plant. It is our responsibility to respect and appreciate those who have sacrificed for us,” Rice said. “Think about Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Hosea Williams, and Jesse Jackson who had families and other responsibilities like many of us today, but still put life and limb on the line every single day to make a change.”
He concluded with, “As I close, Voorhees think about what people had done before us, before they began they had to plan, they believed they were as equal as anyone else, and projected things would come to pass and our people would become and experience something greater.”
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