A letter to Bates on my Morehouse Experience

Me and some of the my Morehouse brothers at the Mr. AKA sororiety pageant

Me and some of the my Morehouse brothers at the Mr. AKA sororiety pageant

All is well here in the Atlanta University Center! The “House” is home. I feel like I’m starring in an episode of the sitcom “A Different World”. There is so much to do. There is a party every single day. On Monday there are various activities like maybe a spoken word night, on Tuesday’s its AUC Tuesday at a local club downtown Atlanta, on Wednesday there is a block party at Morehouse, on Thursday there is Market Thursdays at Clark and Friday there is Market Fridays at Spelman. There are a number of student clubs as well. And the weekend are always jam pack with parties, sporting events, and time to hang out and relax with folks.

Orientation went well. It is here that you develop a keen sense of Morehouse history, its legacy, and the expectations of a “Man of Morehouse” I have been inspired by the rich legacy of this institution. With such humble beginnings and so few resources Morehouse has somehow produced some of the greatest thinkers, professionals and leaders that our world has seen. I’m walking the halls and pathways of Black history and that brings joy to my soul.

Thus far, I have joined three organizations. I’m a member of the MLK International Chapel, Chapel Assistants program, which is a organization for young men aspiring to become ministers.  Morehouse Chaplain, Dean Lawrence Carter is the advisor of  the organization. I’m also a Chaplain Assistant at Spelman. I additionally joined a faith base and social justice organization at Spelman called Righteous Noise. We are currently  planning a domestic violence play be performed in October.  Through these organizations, I have met some very positive people.

I spoke with President Franklin and I have encountered Dean Carter frequently. I’m also working with Danny Bellinger in Admissions on bringing a student from Morehouse to Bates for either next semester or the fall semester 2009. I think I am making much progress with this.

The food here is great (o that southern food!) and I love the smoothies All is well here in the Atlanta University Center. Mr. Carter, The “House” is home. I feel like I’m starring in an episode of the sitcom “A Different World”. There is so much to do. There is a party every single day. On Monday there are various activities like maybe a spoken word night, on Tuesday’s its AUC Tuesday at a local club downtown Atlanta, on Wednesday there is a block party at Morehouse, on Thursday there is Market Thursdays at Clark and Friday there is Market Fridays at Spelman. There are a number of student clubs as well. And the weekend are always jam pack with parties, sporting events, and time to hang out and relax with folks.

Orientation went well. It is here that you develop a keen sense of Morehouse history, its legacy, and the expectations of a “Man of Morehouse” I have been inspired by the rich legacy of this institution. With such humble beginnings and so few resources Morehouse has somehow produced some of the greatest thinkers, professionals and leaders that our world has seen. I’m walking the halls and pathways of Black history and that brings joy to my soul.

Thus far, I have joined three organizations. I’m a member of the MLK International Chapel, Chapel Assistants program, which is a organization for young men aspiring to become ministers.  Morehouse Chaplain, Dr. Lawrence Carter is the  advisor of  the organization. I’m also a Chaplain Assistant at Spelman. I additionally joined a faith base and social justice organization at Spelman called Righteous Noise. We are currently planning a domestic violence play to be performed in October.  Through these organizations, I have met some very positive people.

I spoke with President Franklin and I have encountered Dean Carter frequently. I’m also working with Danny Bellinger in Admissions on bringing a student from Morehouse to Bates for either next semester or the fall semester 2009. I think I am making much progress with this.

The food here is great (o that southern food!) and I love the smoothies that are made at the campus hang out cafe similar to the one on “A Different World” where brother and sisters from Morehouse and Spelman congregate. I have met many students and every time I mention that I go to Bates, the brothers here immediately respond by saying you go to the college of MAYS. He is the man around these parts.

I’m taking four classes and they are: Thoughts of Howard Thurman (Independent Study), Thoughts of Marcus Study(Independent Study), Philosophy of Religion, African American History (Spelman College). For the most part, I’m enjoying the classes. I’m taking some of the better classes with some of the better professors here at Morehouse and Spelman. So I have a lot of work ahead of me. Classes here do indeed provide an education for liberation. I just admire the many conscience brothers and sisters in the entire AUC.

Yet I do miss the hospitality of many of the Bates staff including yourself, some of the nice facilities and a few other things about Bates. However, I love both schools for two different reasons. Getting here was not so smooth and when I got here there still were so many bumps in the road However, love it here and I’m so happy I decided to study here this semester.

I do miss the hospitality of many of the Bates staff, some of the nice facilities and a few other things about Bates. However, I love both schools for two different reasons. Arranging my off campus study stay here was not so smooth and when I got here there still were so bumps in the road. I love it here and I’m so happy I decided to study here this semester.

Yours in the Struggle,                

Brother Phillips

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Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 3:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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2008 Youth Leadership Award Northwest Philadelphia Community Apprecition Awards

Accepting the "2008 Youth Leadership Award" during the "2nd Annual Northwest Community Appreciation Awards Dinner"

I returned to Philadelphia this weekend to accept the “2008 Youth Leadership Award” during the 2nd Annual Northwest Philadelphia Community Appreciation Awards on Friday, September 19th, 2008. The dinner was organized by Pennsylvania State Representative Cherelle Parker. This award is given to “individuals whose work in the community has not only served to enhance their own personal interests, but has had a tremendous impact on the community at large.”

If someone would have told me years ago that later on in my life I would be a leader of a non-profit and that I would take on an active role in my community, I would be bewildered by their statement. In my acceptance speech I noted, “I’m living to tell the story of how we were able to overcome human injustice and I want to encourage everyone in attendance to continue to lead a life committed to that story.”

Thank you Pennsylvania State Representative Cherelle Parker and the committee who selected me for this award. I’m very humble and grateful to have received such an honor for my service to the community that I love.

The Renaissance man with a Social Conscience

During Morehouse College’s 2008 new student orientation, the 10th President of Morehouse, Dr. Robert M. Franklin stated with a resounding voice

You are the pride of the village, and the hope of a nation…Morehouse Men are Renaissance men with a social conscience. Renaissance men contribute to the revised standards of human knowledge and achievement, while the Morehouse Man additionally serves as the living voice of social justice that informs us of what is right and good and true for society, not simply individuals”  

Shortly after he concluded his speech, I entered a world of reflection. I began to examine my own life in the context of his speech because like the great philosopher Socrates I too believe that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” Dr. Franklin’s words injected a peculiar feeling of euphoria into my veins. I admired his call for more than 800 new students at Morehouse to transcend themselves in order to transcend our world. Engaging citizens in our world to see life as something greater than their own has been a theme of primary importance to me for many years. I want to answer the call of Dr. Franklin, and though my affiliation with the college as a semester exchange student will never allow me to reach the ranks of becoming a Morehouse Man, I still wish to lead the life of a Renaissance man with a social conscience.

I shall never forget the words of President Robert Franklin during his 2008 new students welcome address. He said that an education at Morehouse “will enable you to serve others… {Morehouse is) your house at your service… Up you mighty men, lets conquer this world.” As I listened to his words, I discovered that something strange is happening to me while being here at Morehouse. Indeed, something strange is happening to my intellect, my speech, my dress, my code of conduct, my confidence, my passions and my concern for justice in the world. All of these qualities are slowly yet considerably maturing. I believe what the brothers here call the “Morehouse Mystique” is quickly falling upon me.  

Here, I have carefully listened and learned the magnificent story of a college that has “been a candle in the dark for over 140 years.” Morehouse College, an institution that began in the basement of a church has somehow produced some of the greatest minds, leaders, and men of distinction that this world has ever seen and has done so through intensely focusing on the personal development of men of African descent. In spite of the college’s rough beginnings, it has evolved into the premier institution of higher education for educating Black male college students.

At new student orientation we were told that if one looks to their left and to their right we would see a network of some of world’s future renowned Black male professionals forming right before our eyes. And as I looked to my right and I looked to my left, I said to myself the future of our nation is bright. And I said this because as I looked I saw the next Black lawyers, Black politicians, Black doctors, Black businessmen, Black engineers, Black scientists, Black entertainers, Black educators, Black preachers and Black activists all purposed awaiting the opportunity to use their God given talents to confront some of our nation’s most pressing problems. I then knew that with these men we could move our nation to make good on its promise.

If Men of Morehouse supposedly possess the deep internal comprehension of social justice and selflessness I too wish to partake in these ideals. Upon entering Morehouse, I read a vibrant sign which stated “Morehouse College, where renaissance men are born.” I hope this semester will give me a rebirth. Though I cannot pledge myself “to dear Ol Morehouse”, because I have already committed myself to Bates College, an institution that I so dearly love, I do hope that I can pledge myself to being a renaissance man with a social conscience.

Yours in struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on August 31, 2008 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My first days with The Institute

Institute Scholars-class of 2008 and class of 2009

Institute Scholars-class of 2008 and class of 2009

On Saturday May 31st, 2008, I eagerly arrived for my first day with The Institute for Responsible Citizenship. I entered the Institute with very high expectations. I had been anticipating this moment since my junior year in high school, when a mentor of mine prematurely introduced me to the program and encouraged me to apply. Since then, I have anxiously awaited the opportunity to join the program.

I was initially impressed with the mission of the program, which “is to inspire promising young men to become vigorous advocates of the American ideal, caring men dedicated to serving others, dynamic role models for African American boys losing hope, and leaders with the integrity to stand for real solutions regardless of prevailing sentiment.” I also loved the idea of being around students who wish to lead a life dedicated to service and who also thought exceptionally on issues of social justice. I had believed that I could benefit both personally and intellectually in my ambitions to serve humanity through meeting brothers a part of the program. When I first heard I was accepted to the Institute I became overjoyed. I told all of my closest friends, mentors and family members about the news. I had always wanted to be a part of this program since my junior year in high school and somehow my dreams came true.  

I arrived on the campus of American University with my sister and my mother who drove me three hours up to D.C. from Philly. My mother helped me unpack. The Institute’s program director asked all of the “Institute Scholars” to bring several sports jackets because we would have many formal gatherings, so most of my belongings included these things. I met my roommate Ernie Jolly, a student at Cornell University. Ernie and I immediately clicked. Like me, Ernie serves as the President of his college’s Black Student Union; therefore, we had a lot to talk about concerning this student activity. Ernie also took several courses in African American Studies, therefore we were able to converse a lot on this subject. My other roommate, a track and field all-star, and presidential scholar at the University of Southern California did not arrive until about three weeks into the program because he had to compete in track and field nationals where he did well.

The second day of the program was orientation. At orientation, everyone introduced themselves; we received an overview of what we should expect over the next two months, and later completed a scavenger hunt that took us to numerous historical and national landmarks around Washington, D.C.   I was most impressed with hearing the other brothers in the program present a synopsis on their background and their service in the community. Their achievements were quite outstanding.

Mr. William Keyes, the President and Founder of the Institute noted to us that we represented some of the best and brightest minds in this nation. He told us he was most concerned about “not what we going to be (careers), but I’m concerned about who we going to be.” He was interested in making sure that this program offered an addendum to our social conscious and will mold us into fine gentlemen who overly concern themselves with our world’s most pressing issues.

Within the first few days, I knew I was a part of the right program. I knew God did the right thing by allowing me to participate as a member of The Institute for Responsible Citizenship.

 Yours in the struggle, I am
Brother Phillips

 

 

The Institute for Responsible Citizenship

The Institute for Responsible Citizenship Class of 2009

The Institute for Responsible Citizenship Class of 2009

I recently completed the first summer of my two summer leadership program for Black male college students called, The Institute for Responsible Citizenship www.i4rc.org. Every year, the Institute selects twenty-four of the most promising Black male college students in the nation, who posses great talent and capability to be a part of their program. Members of the Institute, take classes in government and economics, intern at various locations in the nation’s capital, and are treated to meetings with several individuals who work in both the private  and public sector.

This summer I had the opportunity to meet civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Congressman Jesse Watts, civil rights activists Vernon Jordan, former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, former Ambassador to The Gamibia George Haley and Co-Founder of BET/ Owner of the Washington Mystics Ms. Sheila Johnson. The seniors in the program met Colin Powell, Congressman Charlie Rangel, and some of the brothers met Congressman Danny Davis and Secretary of State Condelezza Rice. In addition, we met various lawyers, non-profit founders, business leaders, and civic leaders.

Summer 2008 was a busy one. I did not have much time to breathe. When we were not interning we were in class, and when we were not in class we had a meeting with a V.I.P. I enjoyed the classes I took and I believe I learned some valuable life lessons from them.

 Most of all, I really enjoyed getting to know all the brothers in my program. Each of them hold a desire to serve as agents of positive social change in their community. I’m certain that all of us will contribute something meaningful to the community. 

 We call each other brothers because during the duration of the 8 week program we truly got to know each other and were able to form bonds similar to a familial one.

  I’m thankful to all of the members of Bates’ staff , faculty and administrators who recommended me for the program. I am extremely blessed that I was selected to be a part of The Institute for Responsible Citizenship.

 Yours in the struggle, I am

  Brother Phillips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amandla! in review 2007-2008

A open letter to the Bates College community,

I write now to officially declare the end of my tenure as Coordinator/Co-Coordinator for the Black student organization Amandla!and to announce the two students who will serve as the 2008-2009 Co-Coordinators for this great campus organization.

For the 2007-2008 academic year members of Amandla! commenced this season by emphasizing four key goals: inclusion, collectivity, family and cultural awareness. To meet these ends, we committed ourselves to crafting programs and events that would align with these objectives.

Here are some highlights of this year’s success:

Inclusion:
Amandla! organized several open campus forums (including a MLK day workshop) on topics concerning Black people on this campus, our nation and throughout the world. Members of Amandla! organized a well attended conference on the theme: The Politics of Color with workshops on how skin color affects social perceptions. The conference included an African Diaspora Dinner and a charity dance called Triad. During the conference we raised more than $200 for the UNICEF SOMALIA education fund. We also made an earnest effort to increase the number of non-Black students to attend our weekly meetings. Given the high number of diverse students who attended these weekly gatherings, this attempt proved to be a very successful appeal. Most of our meetings covered a significant issue affecting the African Diaspora, including discussions on the Zimbabwe’s presidential election, the Save Darfur cause, the U.S. presidential election and Barack Obama, and many more.

Collectivity and Family:
We formed familial like bonds while collectively organizing events together and by learning about each other. We now begin our meetings by saying “Amandla! Ngawethu, Power to the People” in order to recognize our collectivity as a group and the purpose of our organization. With the support of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, some members of Amandla! traveled to see the opening of the African Burial Ground in New York City. Through this off campus interaction, the members who participated in this trip formed very close bonds with each other. We were able to offer organization supportive activities such as movies nights on Black culture for ourselves and the entire campus community.

Cultural Awareness:
This year, we considered that raising Black cultural awareness in all of our programs and events as a vital task. These events included, Amandla!’s first ever “Pop Quiz: Topic- Black History”. During Black History Month we honored Bates’ outstanding Black alumni by displaying their biographies throughout campus corridors and buildings. The idea to form Bates’ Black Gospel choir initiated within our organization.

Other Successes:
Moreover, we were active as hosts for the Office of Admissions multicultural student visitation program called Prologue to Bates College. In addition, many of our members have accomplished several accolades at Bates and have contributed greatly to enhancing the Bates community. Within ourorganization, we have a Benjamin Mays prize recipient, co-founders of the Black Gospel organization, members of faculty standing committees, student government class presidents,Harward center volunteers, an athlete of the week, Howard Hughes scholars, and much more.

We saluted the Dean of Multicultural Affairs, Ms. Czerny Brasuell with our Administrator of the Year award for being an outstanding mentor, resource, supporter, and advisor to multicultural students at Bates College. Her track record and outstanding years of service in the Office of Multicultural Affairs made it easy for us to choose her as the recipient of this award.

We also saluted Dean James Reese with an award respectfully named in his honor. The James L. Reese Trailblazer award will be given annually to a Bates’ faculty, administrator, or staff member who puts in extraordinary time, care, mentorship, and resources in supporting students of color at Bates College.

In pursuing years, we wish to award one faculty, one staff member, and one administrator with awards for their service to students of color on Bates’ campus.

Furthermore, I am pleased to announce that Jasmine Beane ’11 and Theodore Sutherland ’11 will serve as Amandla!’s 2008-2009 Co-Coordinators. I sincerely admire the talent and capabilities of these two students. These two individuals posses immense intelligence, diligence, mannerism and both share a zeal for promoting Black cultural awareness. They have already begun to plan some wonderful events for the student body for this coming academic year and I anxiously await to see their work come into fruition. Please contact these two students with any questions, comments, concerns, or plans that relate to Amandla!. Jasmine’s email is jbeane@bates.edu and Theodore’s email is tsutherl@bates.edu .

Here are the brief biographies for the 2008-2009 students leaders of Amandla!:

Jasmine Beane ’11- Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Jasmine Beane ’11 studies biochemistry, premedical studies, and minors in economics at Bates College. In high school, Beane taught a class to her peers on race, diversity and culture and was active in community service. Beane’s campus involvement at Bates includes working in the office of human resources; serving as Amandla!’s event coordinator, a member of the diversity outreach team in admissions, and being an active student leader in the Bates’ diversity matter cause. This year Beane was selected to serve as Junior Advisor to incoming freshmen and was elected by her peers to serve as Amandla!’s Co-Coordinator(Co-President). During her first year at Bates, Beane, then Amandla!’s event coordinator, assisted in preparations for a trip to the African Burial Ground in New York City and played an integral role in organizing forums on Black cultural awareness for the entire campus. After completing her studies at Bates, she plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in medicine.

Theodore Sutherland ’11- Accra, Ghana

Theodore Sutherland ’11 is pursuing his degree in Economics and French at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. In High School, Sutherland served as the “Head Boy” in his boarding school, a dorm proctor, earned his diploma with distinction and was selected to be his school’s valedictorian. At Bates, Sutherland serves as a charter member of Mays Men, Bates’ Black and Latino Male organization; a member of the Diversity Outreach Team in admissions; a member of the investment club; center monitor for the Multicultural Center; a junior advisor; a member of the International Club. Sutherland is also an active participant in the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, where he has mentored and tutored youth in the Lewiston community. Theodore is the 2008 recipient of the college’s freshmen seminar writing award. Earlier this year, Theodore was elected by his peers to serve as the Co-Coordinator (Co-President) of Bates’ Black students organization Amandla!. He has achieved these extraordinary works of service all while maintaining an excellent collegiate academic record. In the future, Theodore plans to attend graduate school in public policy.

Lastly, I want to thank all the students, staff, faculty, and administrators who supported and attributed to this academic year’s success. Specifically, I want to thank Ms. Czerny Brasuell, Mr. Mark Bessire, Dr. Leslie Hill, Dean James Reese, Dean Keith Tannerbaum, Tonya Taylor, Ms. Susan Dionne, Mr. Arsalan Suhail, Ms. Marylyn Scott, Ms. Phyllis Jensen, Dr. Charles Nero, Dr. Timothy Robinson, Ms.Carmita Mccoy, Mr. Dan Aiello, Mr. Bill Cutler, Mr. Anthony J. Begon( Amandla!’s 2008 Co-Coodinator), Mr. Donelle Durham (Amandla!’s 2007 Co-Coordinator) and Mr. Jason Patterson who each served as invaluable resources to our organization this year.

Most importantly, I want to thank all the members of Amandla! for their selfless
commitment to the organization.

As we move forward as an organization, we will continue to hold true to the mission that our founders envisioned. And with your continued support, we will further the cause of promoting Black cultural awareness on this campus, continue to forge Black student support systems, and provide a forum for people on this campus to express ideas concerning the African Diaspora.

On behalf of Amandla!, thank you!

“Amandla! Ngawethu!” Power to the People.

Yours in the stuggle, I am

Brother Phillips
Amandla!, former Coordinator/Co-Coordinator

About Amandla!

The purpose of Amandla! is to cultivate solidarity among students of
African descent at Bates College . We are committed to providing a
forum where one can express social, intellectual, political, and
cultural concerns of students of African descent.

It is our mission to promote global causes that directly affect people
of the African Diaspora and foster a campus and local community
understanding of the rich lives and cultures of people of African
descent. Through organizing events and programs that raise cultural
and political awareness of Black people on campus, Amandla! hopes to
ignite racial tolerance and social change in our communities.

 

2007-2008 members of Amandla!

2007-2008 members of Amandla!

2007-2008 Amandla! executive board

2007-2008 Amandla! executive board

 

Amandla! visits the African Burial Ground in New York City

Amandla! visits the African Burial Ground in New York City

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morehouse College: The Epitome of an Education for Liberation

This fall I will attend Morehouse College on a domestic exchange because I desire an education for liberation. Education for liberation is an educational philosophy that was first introduced by the former President of Tanzania Julius Neyere. Neyere believed that a classical education catered to the interests of the elite and a select few, and discovered that an education for liberation promotes self-reliance, the common good, fairness and equity. In the future I hope to continue to be of service to my community, therefore, I believe an education that places emphasis on positive social change will strengthen my activism. Neyere’s educational philosophy is at the heart of the mission of a Morehouse College education. This is the primary reason why I have decided to attend Morehouse College as a domestic exchange student.

Morehouse College epitomizes an education for liberation. In a class presentation during the second semester of my freshman year at Bates College, I called Morehouse College a fine exemplar of Neyere’s philosophy. One of the mottos of Morehouse is “redefine yourself, redefine the world”. Julian Thompson, a 2007 graduate of Morehouse College from Philadelphia expresses that “they [Morehouse] expect you to be socially and politically aware…the commitment that this school has shown toward community permeates every facet of your education.” Students, faculty, and friends of Morehouse who I have spoken with and documents that I have read, all describe in similar terminology this philosophy as the cornerstone of a Morehouse College education. From the start of Morehouse’s freshmen orientation programs to commencement and beyond, students at Morehouse are strongly encouraged to be beacons of hope and light to the world. Students become engaged with the Morehouse ideal of service to others, through provocative institutional marshaled activities that include a freshmen orientation program called The Crown Forum which introduces students to working professionals and sometimes Morehouse alumni who are agents of social change. In addition, students participate and co-sponsor service learning programs for the student body and faculty often engage students in enriching class discussions on the world’s social issues. Education at Morehouse is personally transformative. Morehouse College provides an education that develops the whole person because it is committed to strengthening its students intellectually, spiritually, socially and most importantly their social conscious.

Growing up in the city of Philadelphia and having to continually see those living in economically considered poor circumstances struggle to achieve the American dream of self-sufficiency, has prompted my interest in becoming an advocate for social justice. In order to become an effective community activist I believe it is necessary for me to meet and connect with those who share similar activist ambitions. The Morehouse College ideal on service will provide me with a social network of like-minded students, faculty and administrators who are determined to change the social landscape of our nation. By associating with these undividuals I will gain more knowledge about ways to achieve positive social change and perhaps acquire a greater sense of urgency to discover ways to change policies and enact laws that reshape communities as well as individual behaviors.

Being a student at Bates College has been great, yet I’m convinced that a Morehouse education will enhance my undergraduate experience because Morehouse’s ideal of service coincides with many of my ambitions. I want to experience an educational philosophy that has moved many Black men towards great heights in service to their community, and I can only truly understand this philosophy by attending Morehouse College.

Therefore, as I pursue a life of humanitarian interests, I believe that as a student at Morehouse I will benefit immensely from being cultivated by not only a Morehouse College liberal arts education, but also a socially responsible education that works to change lives.

Morehouse College has a rich legacy of graduating students who aspire to change the world. I wish to be a part of this legacy, because I long to see the day when people can be proud to live in a world of fairness and equity.

Yours in the struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

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Bates, Morehouse and Spelman Colleges

The connection between Bates and the nation’s two premier historically black liberal arts colleges — Morehouse for men and Spelman for women — dates to 1940, the year Benjamin E. Mays ’20 began his 27-year Morehouse presidency.

The Bates-Morehouse-Spelman Exchange Program was established in 1994, the centennial year of Mays’ birth. While the program has had modest student participation from both sides over the years, Bates is now focusing greater attention on this and similar initiatives, part of redoubled efforts to incorporate a wider spectrum of people, perspectives, and disciplines within the Bates experience.

Courtesy of the Bates College Website. http://www.bates.edu/x173268.xml

Published in: on May 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Introducing Brother Phillips: You can lean on me

Anthony A. PhillipsSome sociologists have suggested that humans are by nature relational beings and are in constant need of each others services. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once noted, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” In many ways, my faith calls me to act benevolently towards others, and to reject the individual for the greater good of community. Hence, my faith teaches me that love advances the larger goals of altruism. In short, my faith calls me to act as Brother Phillips.

 In my salutations, I often sign off as Brother Phillips, not because I wish to carry a sense of importance, authority, and nor for some sort of narcissistic self seeking pleasure; however, I do so to confirm with others that I wish to be of service to their interests, be a confidant in their time of need and to convey that I am sincerely concerned about their well being. Thus, here at Bates and beyond, I will seek to affirm in all my actions that I am truly both my brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. I realize that in my attempt to bestow this sense of “brotherly affection” onto humankind, I will not be perfect because humankind is not infallible.

 With this in mind, I will never end my advocacy for human eternal peace, love, justice, serenity and mutuality. With each others support we can foster a beloved community. As philosopher and Princeton University professor Kwame Anthony Appiah puts it, “We have to act as if freedom is possible even though we can’t provide any theoretical justification for it.” If we position ourselves in our world as loving brothers and sisters, we will not be far from reaching this end. Thus, as we undergo the struggle for complete human liberation from internal affliction, I offer you my shoulder to lean on and I can only hope that you will extend your shoulder for me to lean on. I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. I am Brother Phillips.

 Lean on Me

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don’t let show

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Bill Withers, legendary R&B singer and song writer 

Yours in the struggle,

 Brother Phillips