Safe Space and Bayard Rustin

Malcolm X said, “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole,” and this mindset has driven the a group of Morehouse students to create a new group of scholars committed to finding truth and justice in a world that is rumored to have lost it drive for the improvement of humanity.

“This project is in the spirit of teaching social advocacy and communalism,” said sophomore Marcus Lee. “It about not letting the rainbow blind you from the message of human improvement.”

This semester juniors, Jamal Terron and Kenneth Maurice Pass, and sophomore, Marcus Lee have introduced a new program for freshmen to the campus of Morehouse College named after political activist Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a community organizer during the civil right movement and he organized the March on Washington. During his tenure he tackled issues from gay rights, to labor union and mostly publicized, desegregation.

“The program is named after him because the motto of program is modeled after his theory and methods,” said Lee. “[The scholars] will be learning how to community organize and learning how tackle more issues at once.”

Rustin was Martin Luther Kings mentor during his civil rights battle, until he was booted off the campaign because of the fear that his open homosexuality would negatively affect his image. He has been written out of books and omitted from the permanent record, and that’s the primary reason the trio wanted bring Bayard Rustin to the limelight on Morehouse’s campus.

Kenneth Pass and Dean Washington created this program over the summer to embody “the spirit of Morehouse, making what we sing about a reality.” This program is Morehouse’s idea, doing social justice.

“Social advocacy and human rights is a passion of mine and I have always been the type of person to voice my opinions about the injustices of society,” said freshman and Bayard Scholar, Iordan Mentore. “I saw the Bayard Rustin Scholars Program as a very practical and effective opportunity for me to make a difference in society, beyond Morehouse.”

The program is set up with classes being taught by the program leader, Kenneth Pass, using a curriculum created by all three men at the head of the program. The curriculum is also geared towards introducing the man Bayard Rustin to the men of Morehouse.

“The campus will most likely be surprised once exposed to [Rustin], but hopefully the shock will be followed by appreciation and they will give him the recognition he deserves,” said Lee.  “I hope they have a appreciation of who he is or who he was, and regard him just like they do Martin Luther King Jr.”

Last week the Bayard Rustin scholars were chosen, and classes will start soon. This marks the beginning of a new era of social justice at Morehouse College.

– Reginald Hutchins



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