Taeja Smith on FAMU Day at the Capitol

Today, Florida A&M University was able to visit the State Capital in great numbers. This was an opportunity for FAMU advocates to show their concern and appreciation for FAMU to the legislatures. Support came from alumni, students and the general public.

There were orange and green lurking everywhere (that is FAMU colors). It was inviting, in a sense, because we shared a common ground — love of FAMU. Juanita Cook, a 1967 alumna, said that she hope we will be able to show our love for FAMU, and that it lives forever. Cook expressed emotionally that “The Representatives need to know that we don’t need any more funding cuts, being that we don’t receive equal funding in the first place.” This year the Florida State Senate Chair, JD Alexander, wants the state ‘s 11 universities to return $400 million from its reserves to help balance a $71 million budget. HBCU Buzz.com reveals that FAMU is expected to get a $11 million cut. Cook exclaimed that FAMU Capitol Day is imperative to not only show are school spirit, but to let other people know that “we’re on the Hill but not quiet on the Hill.”

Overall, this was quite an adventure! I was amaze at how united and connected each person appeared. From the time I stepped in, people where laughing and speaking. It was a silent message among us — let’s stand with each other and not against. I didn’t know what to expect when I first went. I am glad to report that it was more than I bargain.

According to Masekela Mandela, a fifth year MBA student from Tallahassee, and presiding Presidential Ambassador at FAMU, “It’s interesting to see how FAMU students and alumni interact with legislative. Its good to know that we can express ourselves to the politicians the exact issues affecting our campus, and what they can do to help.” The importance of supporting FAMU Capitol day is an understatement. Paul Ellis, a FAMU advocate, stated that it’s important that we show up today because of the challenges we’re facing as a school. Since the hazing incident in Oct. 2011, FAMU has received bad press.

Any opportunity to shed light on the positive aspects is tremendous. “The more Rattler spirit we can show,” said Queen Bruton, a 1951 alumna, the more awareness and eradicating of ignorance we can produce and diminish.” She herself said that attending FAMU Capitol Day has enlighten her by giving her an interrelationship with the rattlers now and Congress.