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Student view: Bringing MLK Jr.’s dream from Atlanta to MSU

February 10, 2023 - Samuel Holmes

Samuel Holmes(he/him) is a first-year student in James Madison College who intends to study Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy. He participated in M.A.G.I.C, which is a summer transition program offered through the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions designed to help students acclimate to college.

Sam Holmes

Having lived in Atlanta, Georgia all my life, I decided I wanted to attend college somewhere different, farther away. I knew I wanted to experience a different part of the U.S., and Michigan State was my first choice. Not only would it allow me to experience living in the North, it is the alma mater of my grandmother.

My grandmother was my hero, and she passed away when I was 14. She was the matriarch of the family. She would make sure all of our family was okay and when we would gather, if no one could afford to get there, she would help them. Also, she was my oasis; whenever I was having problems, I could go to my grandmother and get away from it all. Attending her alma mater, to me, was a way I could honor her memory.

When I arrived on campus, I realized something felt off — strange and foreign. It took me a while to realize why. It came to me when I attended a Día De Muertos celebration; when I looked around, there were almost no African American or APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) students there, which was an unusual experience for me. I realized how isolated I felt — there lacked minority unity, which made me feel even smaller in a predominantely white institution.

I discovered that living in Atlanta was different because, there, I saw people of every color and creed working together, living together and growing together. Something here felt different. As a Black man, growing up in the South, I now realize I took for granted the sense of community felt within diverse communities.

Atlanta is a sanctuary for many people, especially Black people. It’s one of the few cities where you find Black people in power. Black-owned businesses, Black people who excel in all areas and possess an affluence not common in other parts of this country.

When people unite, especially people who are part of different minority groups, important changes occur. Maybe because we’ve had to fight for so much for so long. Maybe because Martin Luther King Jr. is the hometown hero, symbolic of what is possible.

I see myself as someone who can help make change happen here at MSU. I have devoted my time to strengthen minority bonds here at MSU. I interact with all the CORES groups: NAISO, BSA, CRU  and APASO. I believe I can achieve more collaboration between these groups, allowing more effective advocacy. I’ve seen what can happen when minorities do come together; I intend to do my best to show the MSU community the same.

Atlanta is not perfect. People struggle everywhere. Acts of hatred and racism occur too often. I see a kinship and unity amongst minorities in Atlanta that I have not yet experienced here, but I know it is possible. I intend to do everything I can to help establish bonds between people of color. We are all in this world together. Let’s come together and push for justice and inclusion.