To the Howard University Community:
On Tuesday, November 8, the world bore witness to the election of Donald J. Trump–an individual who led a campaign based on ignorance, exclusion, and oppression–as President-elect of the United States.
Following Election Day, President Wayne A.I. Frederick released a statement to the Howard University community congratulating Trump and imploring students to take an active role in guiding our community amidst the negative implications of the Election. President Frederick’s comments regarding the election have prompted this response from servant leaders on campus:
We understand the rationale behind President Frederick’s address. However, we find it troubling that at the capstone of Black scholarship, our president would extend congratulations to an individual who has campaigned using hateful rhetoric, and validated violence against the identities of various marginalized groups. In his letter, President Frederick legitimized the deeply flawed process by which Donald Trump was elected, and encouraged the Howard student body to respect an election that was neither democratic nor just.
We would be remiss in our duty, not only as servant leaders but also as informed citizens of this country, to remain complicit in a system that allows a demagogue lacking any political experience to be recognized as the leader of the free world. Furthermore, advising us to have blind faith in a system created to oppress us stands contradictory to the Truth we have pledged to uphold as both members of the Howard community and keepers of its legacy.
We do not intend to create a divide, but rather to hold our leadership accountable to both speaking candidly about the current state of the nation, and to actively supporting student-led endeavors combatting the open prejudice and discrimination our communities face. We write this letter not to discount the spaces that have already been provided for students to process and organize. Rather, we charge Howard University’s administration to publicly acknowledge the real ramifications of the 2016 election cycle, and afford students continued support and encouragement.
As servant-leaders on this campus, and in the communities we impact across the nation, we will not stand idly in the face of oppression, nor will we accept any narrative that affirms a leader whose rise to power reflects the worst parts of our national psyche. Instead, we will fight for our freedom, we will love and support each other, and we will win.
In Truth, Love, and Service,
Alexis Mckenney, Junior Political Science Major From Durham, North Carolina
Nnenna Ochuba, Senior Economics/Political Science Double Major From Newark, New Jersey
Andrea Wootens, Senior English Major From New Haven, Connecticut
Amber Broaden, Senior Psychology Major From Lancaster, California
Taylor Avery, Organizational Communication Major From Chicago, Illinois
Rachel O’Neal, Senior Public Relations Major From Oakland, California
Lyric Clark, Senior Accounting Major From Manhattan, New York