This is on a bus headed towards campus. I'm 17 and this is Oakland.I'm young and hopeful just arriving at The University for the World of Possibilities tour. One of my earliest memories of this liminal state of mine were the 225th banners that lining the sides of fifth avenue, actual sentinels standing at attention in ever present pause whose sole purpose of existence was for full observation from any vulnerable soul, yearning. The blue and gold banners brought black rage, boasting of 225 years of "building better lives." and this is a statement that has forever molded my approach to my institution. These three words, haunting, have completely shifted the paradigm of the University as I perceive her to be. Whereas most students would view a classroom in the cathedral as exactly what it is to an unimaginative mind, a classroom.With desks, in rows standing, projector lowered, the professor conducting. These classic elements constitute the modern physical arbitrary manifestation that we believe a university classroom should be in ought. However, I see more. I see a platform, an elevator of sorts an o p p u r t u n i t y to succeed.
To put into context a conversation I need to bring us back a slight. My senior year of High School I converted to Islam.
This is January 2013, I'm 18 and this is Lothrop Hall. Here I am Standing in the absolute solitude of my room staring into the dormitory's empty courtyard, orange from the concentrated gaze of the streetlights, pressuring. My mouth is dry and my emotions are flowing. I'm clutching my phone ever so to my ear mulling over my present conversation, predicament, as it were, with my grandmother. I swallow and try to ask as calmly as possible, "So this is because of religion." The words come out more as a statement rather than a question, or perhaps they came out rhetorical, viewing in hindsight. An empty expository shouted against the backdrop of impending loneliness and dark realisation. The reply was in the affirmative.
And so began my odyssey with these bright lights, this big city.Stranded. A stranger in a strange land with no immediate support and no way out. My family refused to finance me insofar as the reality that I subscribed to a thought foreign to theirs. Since that One Day it has been trying. A never ending downward spiral plagued by homelessness, unemployment. A situation characterised by pursuing debt and fragranced by anxiety and fear.
AlhumduliLAH and GOD help us all.
We're all gonna make it brahs,
Signing out from Local35,
Your president,brother,and comrade,