President-elect of United Black Students responds to coronavirus outbreak, offers words of advice

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have lain witness to events that will be forever etched into human memory. With livelihoods grinding to a halt, human movement at a standstill and the human existence seemingly at the tipping point between order and ruin, it is easy to become cynical. However, there is much to learn during this time and much to be encouraged about.

As the new United Black Students president for the 2020–2021 academic year, I feel it necessary to address black students specifically. We once again face a new threat that preliminary data is showing to disproportionately affect our communities. However, if history is any indicator, it is ingrained within our DNA to meet every challenge and overcome it with grace, poise and good humor, and COVID-19 will be no exception. Those who preceded us faced the chains of discrimination and the lash of fear while holding onto hope for a brighter tomorrow, and we must do the same.

While the outbreak of COVID-19 has impaired much of our society, it will never reduce our resolve in how we respond. In times of hardship and strife, it is easy to allow joy to dwindle and to allow complacency to settle in. However, we must find allies in the values of tenacity, grit and resilience and strengthen our commitment to pressing onward. For many of us, “busyness” was often the shield or the excuse we used to speed past life’s details. Find joy in what you once deemed mundane, take pleasure in life’s simplest details, use this time to invest in personal development and continue to hold on to what brings you peace in the midst of confusion.

The year 2020 has truly been a masterful teacher educating each of us through life experiences. The greatest among these lessons has been that life’s fragility makes it a precious gift that must be appreciated in all of its splendor for each moment that you are given. In being taught of the sanctity of our lives, we have also been reminded that no matter the wealth within your family nor the clothes you dawn each day, you still breathe the same air and bleed the same blood as any other person. All of our lives are valuable beyond measure and are interwoven in a shared purpose.

The new executive team and I have pledged to press forward knowing that this too will pass; and when this finally does pass, we will be prepared to celebrate more, laugh more, participate more and foster a greater sense of community. So, do not be weary or faint-hearted, for the best for our University of Miami community is yet to come.

Landon Coles is a sophomore majoring in political science and minoring in strategic communications and business law.