FAMU students are living history

Bryan Monroe, CEO of The Monroe Media Group, told Florida A&M students they are “living history,” at the black history convocation on Thursday.

Monroe, former vice president and editorial director of Ebony and Jet Magazines, said this is his first time coming on campus to speak to FAMU students.

Using pictures and videos of his family and his previous interviews he illustrated his message Monroe told students, “We can do better as citizens. We have to take back control.”

Accordingly, Monroe also said the media and consumers of the media can use their power to make a difference. He said consumers can send the media a message with what they watch and what they buy.

“If you don’t buy it, they’ll stop selling it,” said Monroe, “Either they change or they die.”

In addition, Monroe said a person does not have to make a million dollars to be on CNN or be the president to make a difference. He emphasized that students start by making a difference on campus. He also asked the audience to support Haiti by donating.

Monroe, who lost 160 lbs. in the last five years, closed by telling students to take care of themselves by getting healthy and staying healthy. He also stressed that smokers quit smoking.

He admitted losing the weight took a lot of hard work, but he chose to do it for his family and his kids. He added people should take care of their mental health as well as their physical health. He said depression is serious but it can be managed.

Furthermore, Monroe told the people in the audience to take a look at their life and whom they surround themselves with.

“Surround yourself with people who are upbeat and optimistic, and rid yourself of people who are negative,” said Monroe.

Monroe’s parents were also at the convocation. Gen. James Monroe said he and his wife received an e-mail from their son a few days ago saying he would be at FAMU. They drove eight hours from Parkland, Florida to surprise him. Monroe’s mother said they had not seen him since Sept.

Gen. Monroe thought his son’s speech was different from other speakers because he interjected a lot of personal experiences to demonstrate how people can leave their legacy to make history. He hopes it will be helpful to students. He also says what he got from the message is: just because someone is dead, does not mean his or her legacy is gone. He believes what goes on today is history.

“The makers of history are in the audience today,” said Gen. Monroe.

Another important part of FAMU’s history, the retiree club, was also present at the convocation. Jacqueline Beck, president of the Retirees Club, said Monroe’s speech was challenging. She thought students should have learned they are living history from the speech.

“They have a responsibility to live history today, so their legacy will be here tomorrow,” said Beck.

Beck became the first dean of the School of Allied Science in 1982. She retired in 2000.

“History is not just something you studied way back when. History is happening right now… we’re living history. Be clear about where you are right now. Look at how you carry yourself, and who you surround yourself with. Don’t pull other people down. Lift folks up,” Monroe added.