A note from the publisher

The new DAA president has a special message for alumni.

Mychal Harrison

This issue, I’m lending this space to the new DAA president, Mychal Harrison ’01, who has a special message for all alumni. —Sterly Wilder ’83, associate vice president, alumni affairs

In 1957, Martin Luther King Jr. famously spoke the words “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Never have those words carried more meaning to me. The senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks serve as a reminder that there is much work to be done in our quest for equality and social justice. Albeit a daunting time, I am encouraged by the response of many Americans and others around the world who have come together to reject the status quo and stand up to the bigotry, racism, and injustice that permeate our society. That “love” that Martin Luther King Jr. references is beginning to drive out darkness and hate while ushering in the light for which many have yearned.

As someone who was told by his parents that I could be anything I wanted to be, never once did I imagine being the president of the best alumni association at one of the most transformative times in modern history. Albeit daunting, I am inspired and motivated by the challenges of leading our alumni community through these difficult times. Doing so will not be easy and will require the help and talents of many as we confront our university’s past, to appreciate the present, and to acknowledge the work that is yet to be done.

As President Price and his administration take action to create an environment where all members of the Duke community feel welcomed and valued, the DAA board is excited for the opportunity to partner with the administration and execute programming that demonstrates Duke’s commitment to eliminating systems of racism and inequality. During the coming year, members of the board will be instrumental in facilitating discussions that leverage the scholarly research and expertise of Duke’s Black faculty on the topics of race and equality, organizing in-person (COVID-19 permitting) and virtual activities and events throughout the various regions, and working closely with current students and affinity groups to enrich their Duke experience.

Additionally, I will be encouraging each member of our board to step out of his/her comfort zone and engage in conversation with current students and alumni that may be difficult. If we are to grow as a community, we must acknowledge and appreciate the experiences of others and be intentional with our actions that bring about change. For words without action ring hollow.

I know our best days lie before us, and I ask each of our more than 180,000 alumni to join us in these efforts. Collectively, we have an opportunity to write our own history and leave a legacy for generations to come. To quote Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike,” and it is my hope that our Forever Duke spirit allows us to join hands and take the next step on this incredible journey.

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