By Greg Dudek
Bridgewater State University hosted a large crowd for their “Future of Black History” event held in the Horace Mann Auditorium on Wednesday afternoon.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick joined Bridgewater State President Dana Mohler-Faria, judge Yvonne Vieira Cardoza and Davede Alexander for a discussion with the audience on various topics with a main theme of resiliency.
“It is much more fun, certainly for me and probably for the audience, if we actually have some engagement,” Patrick said. “If there is some back-and-forth instead of just having us talk at people. And the questions were great, really terrific. I wish we had more time to talk to more of them.”
With Feb. being Black History Month, both Mohler-Faria and Patrick touched upon the importance of looking back at past leaders in the community.
“These individuals who stand tall for what is right is who we celebrate today,” Mohler-Faria said.
From there, the panel took questions from the audience, as they discussed how they were able to achieve so much while facing adversity.
Each member of the panel came from humble origins and used what they learned through their lives to give the audience a message about perseverance.
“I am still becoming who I want to be,” Patrick said. “I have had very high expectations from the adults around me. Not failure, but low aim is sin. It wasn’t about what I failed at becoming. Not reaching was wrong.”
With elementary and high school students from the surrounding community in the attendance, along with students from Bridgewater State, Patrick discussed the importance education has had in his life.
“I think about the teachers who taught me to believe in myself because they believed in me,” Patrick said.
All the panelists answered questions about what made the difference in their lives, their defining moments, who their role models were and how they felt to be a part of the panel.
The panelists also offered up their advice to the members of the audience.
“Make sure to surround yourself around positive people,” Cardoza said. “Don’t let negativity enter your circle.”
Senior Brendan Concannon, a political science major and student trustee of Student Government Association, thought this was a very impactful event for all in attendance.
“I thought it was a great panel, it was a testament really to hard work and where it can take you,” Concannon said. “I thought that it was great that they brought in students, especially young elementary students, so they could see some role models up on the stage.”
Mohler-Faria, Patrick, Cardoza and Alexander tried to empower the audience with their final words. While the leaders of today sat up on the stage, they believed there were many future leaders in the audience.
“The reality is many of you sitting in the audience today will make history,” Mohler-Faria said.
Greg Dudek is The Comment’s Editor-In-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at gdudek10 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.