Biden Commencement Addresses Risk Further Victimizing the Black Community, AUC Community Deserves Better

Recently, it was announced that President Joseph R. Biden would be the commencement speaker at Morehouse College, stating that "it is important to have President Biden address these graduates as a counterpoint to some of the negative narratives about Black America."

This announcement comes after President Biden and his team have circled the Atlanta University Center, frequently visiting the institutions to pose next to Black exceptionalism. Unfortunately, President Biden's history of racial injustice is public knowledge, and many students, staff, and faculty members are concerned that this commencement address serves as nothing more than a way to garner support from the Black community once more.

Historically, the Atlanta University Center, which includes Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morris Brown College, has been a hub for activism. From The Atlanta Student Movement in 1960 to the Lock-In of the Morehouse Board of Trustees in 1969, the campuses have been a source of radicalism and protest.

Unfortunately, despite this legacy, students and staff who continue this radical work today face punishment, ostracism, and expulsion. Recently, Morehouse College President David A. Thomas granted Biden a platform to speak to the community, despite his history of segregationist beliefs and questionable behaviors. This comes as no surprise as Thomas has a pattern of prioritizing external profit over listening to the students, faculty, and staff within the Atlanta University Center.

Additionally, Thomas threatens to weaponize The Atlanta Police Department, The Sheriff's Office, and The United States Secret Service to arrest students if they protest during the commencement ceremony. As students, we are concerned that Biden's address will further victimize the Black community and the AUC community, and we demand transparency and action on behalf of the administration.

We, along with hundreds of others, have signed a petition demanding divestment and accountability. It's important to consider the consequences of our actions. While we should examine the impact of our words, we should not do so at the expense of marginalized communities.

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