The day isn’t great because the President stepped down or the students won a victory. The day is great for the system because the University of Missouri as a whole supported students who found their moral voice and stood together to say when one of us is intimidated, mistreated, held down, or marginalized we all suffer. They said loudly to the entire system and the nation we stand as one.
We look at a single graduate student and may ask how hard is it to go on a hunger strike? Of course, people that ask such questions do not realize the physical and emotional suffering that comes only days after beginning a hunger strike. Quickly the student body stood in solidarity with him and again people my question what they had to loose. When the football players stood up, they did so knowing the risk to future professional careers and their visibility at this critical point in the season, and no one doubted what they had to loose. When the coaches stood to support them, then the nation was forced to admit their cause was just.
It is a great day for the University of Missouri system because the students exemplified what it means to live in the Show Me state. They showed us all what moral courage looks like and what it means to find one’s moral voice. I’m sorry the President lost his job. I’m proud of the parents, professors, coaches, and curators that helped to make these young men and women morally courageous. Education is about more than what happens in one’s mind; it is also about what happens in his or her soul. Today the students are men and women forged in courage and moral integrity and have proven they are leaders ready to make the world a better place.
Leaders are called to stand
In that lonely place
Between the no longer and the not yet
And intentionally make decisions
That will bind, forge, move,
And create history.
We are not called to be popular,
We are not called to be safe,
We are not called to follow.
We are the ones called to take risks,
We are the ones called to change attitudes,
To risk displeasure,
We are the ones called to gamble our lives
For a better world.
–Mary Lou Anderson