Congratulations on your decision to pursue your education at the George Washington University. With this decision comes a responsibility to succeed to the best of your abilities and take advantage of all this university has to offer in your quest to become a driving force in the world. For most of you, it is your first time away from home, free from the arms of your loving and protective parents. By the time you have completed your Colonial Inauguration, you have heard many repeat “College, No Parents!” This is one of many highlights of the college experience; the opportunity to mature and grow into one’s own outside the watchful eye of parents. In good times, many relish in their newfound freedom, fully engaged in this new stage of their life taking every step with pride and optimism about what comes next. With all the great things that the experience brings, it is important to also be mindful of the trials and tribulations that wait as well. In the difficult and competitive environment that is Washington DC, it is easy to feel overwhelmed in your journey. You can only overcome this through hard work and perseverance.
The first thing many tend to notice upon meeting someone are differences but what many fail to realize is that despite our different geographical origins, experiences, perspectives, and potential career paths, we are more similar than we would like to think. No group of men knows that more than the current members of the Black Men’s Initiative. When the burden was too heavy for one, collaboration proved to be the remedy to any of life’s problems, no matter the size. Those origins, experiences, and perspectives that one might have denounced at one point came became part of the element that vigorously strives to the ultimate goal: increasing African-American Male retention at this prestigious university. We can confidently say that we are all on our way to earning our degrees. Had it not been for our connection with each other, our experience could have been one of division and failure instead of unity and triumph.
No one asks you to give up the personal identity you strive to find during your time here. Instead, we offer that support system that safely guides you through the college process so that as you find your identity, you also succeed and take advantage of your time at GW. The greatest crime we can commit as Black men is not educating those who come after us about our previous experiences so that they can improve where we failed. We will not commit that crime and instead extend our hand to you to become a part of an organization that promotes solidarity in a manner that when executed, all but guarantee’s our mutual success.
During your freshman year, study hard, meet new people, get involved as much as you can and most importantly remember that you are never alone in your goals and there is always somewhere to go for support.
The Brothers of The BMI
Samuel Collins, Jr.
Andre Lamar Smith
David Sizwe Mankanzana