Duty of grads to give back

As I sat among the pews at a Sunday church service, the pastor said, “Don’t be selfish – You are not in college for yourself. You are empowered by God to empower others.”

Later in the week at a social, PRodigy public relations firm adviser Gina Kinchlow told graduating seniors to “give back to someone,” encouraging attendees not to forget about Florida A&M University and the black community.

The cultural experience at FAMU, coupled with some familial values, has placed concepts of empowering others and giving back to the community on my mind. However, I wonder if others are thinking of doing the same when they leave this institution.

When it comes to unity and progression in the black community, we need a serious makeover.

An excerpt from PR Weekly’s Career Guide, a yearly magazine publication for students entering public relations and marketing-related careers, said minorities often don’t sit at the top of the corporate ladder because there isn’t enough mentoring of minorities on the bottom of the organizational structure.

This past weekend, I also had the pleasure of having breakfast with two concerned alumni from the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. Their gesture to take the time out of their schedule and talk with students about our future endeavors is what counts.

Don’t think so? Just take a look at some of the businesses you support.

You may have witnessed how many in the Asian culture come to America, start businesses and support their own – enhancing not only their culture but this country as a whole. Those who view this as cultural supremacy are thinking to the extreme. I’m sure they too have made a decision in their lives that enhanced their culture. This can be done without being seen as prejudiced.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politically correct, nor popular, but you must do it because conscience tells you it is right. Students should start healing the black community by mentoring and giving back with the education they’ve received, skills they have acquired and talents they possess.

Several alumni have come back to the University compelled to make a difference in our lives. Giving back doesn’t just mean financially, it means offering internships, providing professional guidance or simply just listening and providing candid feedback about the world outside of FAMU.

To the “so serious” seniors walking across the stage on that glorious day of April 27 in the Tallahassee Civic Center, remember that success does not come without service to the community. As educated individuals, it is now our turn to keep the momentum going.

Mark Taylor II is a public relations student from Toledo. He can be reached at famuanopinions@hotmail.com.