Living in Savannah, I am constantly reminded of being in the heart of “Georgia Dawg” country. Everywhere I turn, UGA flags are impeding my view, yards are littered with inflatable bulldogs and the streets are blocked with cars watching the game together. As the only Razorback family in the neighborhood, I have been tempted (but haven’t) to purchase and display inflatable mascots of every SEC team that they play on game day. Then I realized that they are simply demonstrating their pride and expressing their support of the “Georgia Dawgs.” Peering into the mirror, I also realized that it is the same Razorback pride that I express in the form of the greeting “Go Hogs!” as I transit the airports and see another Razorback supporter wearing the cardinal or crimson colors. It is this same degree of pride and level of support that we as fellow U of A alumni must have for the U of A, the Black Alumni Society and most importantly our currently enrolled and future students of color. If we are to promote the U of A inclusively as “our” university, this is essential. It is an objective that only we, the black alumni of the U of A can seize.
In my first and last note to you, I expressed three areas of need: fiscal, verbal and visual. In order for the Black Alumni Society to successfully accomplish this great and worthy task of making the U of A inclusive, each of these needs must be fulfilled. Today, I want to focus solely on the verbal need. Instead of speaking discouragingly about our matriculation at the U of A, let us speak of the positive attributes of our alma mater. First, let us speak of the value of the secular education received within her classrooms, granting us the opportunity for careers and/or career advancement. Let us speak of the beneficial life lessons learned on her grounds, lessons which have propelled us ahead and/or catapulted us to loftier heights. Next, let us speak of the even greater opportunities currently available for any and every citizen of the great state of Arkansas on its flagship campus. Then, let us speak encouragingly to our successors of their potential and capability to not only achieve but to excel at any university but preferably at the U of A, our beloved alma mater. Lastly, let us speak sound, technical and practical, advice to mentees who desperately need mentors with whom they can readily relate.
As we prepare for our fall BAS Board of Directors meeting next weekend in Little Rock, we ask your candid input, comments and suggestions. We are your board, work for you and can only work with you if you work with us. Together, we can accomplish anything we put our minds, hearts and hands toward. I thank you in advance for helping us to help you and most importantly our current and future U of A minority students.
As we continue to plan for, return to and culminate the BAS 2013 Reunion, in an effort to meet the needs of our students and fulfill our personal obligations to each other, I humbly ask that each of us “Think Back, Look Back, Come Back and Give Back.”
A Luta Continuum,
Bobby W. Jones, M.D.
President, U of A Black Alumni Society