Bashel LewisComment

Open Letter: Class of 2019

Bashel LewisComment
Open Letter: Class of 2019

I don’t really know what to say, partly due to the fact that this moment feels so surreal and I just typed 30 pages for my final exams last week. Regardless, it’s always unsettling when something you’ve spent four years working towards, abruptly stops.

A week ago, I became the FIRST male in my family’s history to obtain a college degree. My grandmother was raised in the foster care system and when she became of age, she moved to Atlanta to start a family of her own. My grandfather and dad were never involved in my life, and my uncles and cousins had to choose the workforce over college. Understanding the systems of oppression that constantly work against black men, my success is not about me but rather the lack of agency those before me were given. I’m very grateful for the village of women that raised me and the lessons that they have extended to me. There were times when I felt like college was not for me and times where I felt like dropping out but those women kept me going.

During my time at Pitzer I worked in three offices: Office of Admission, Career Services, and Office of Student Affairs. I’ve held three leadership positions: Resident Assistant, Black Student Union Executive Broad, and an Orientation Leader. And lastly, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to seven different countries, becoming the first person in my family to own a passport. Through my leadership positions I’ve been able to mentor over twenty students ranging from high school seniors to college sophomores. Overall, Pitzer has allowed me to step away from my neighborhood, take a deep breath, and begin to map out my future. A liberal arts education has expanded my view of the world and honed in my critical thinking skills.

To My Friends: I would not be here if it were not for you. Thank you for reading over my papers, checking on me during dark times, and always grabbing a meal with me at the dinning hall. The hard work that each of you have exemplified throughout the years motivated me to keep working towards my goals. Though college is probably the last time we’ll see each other so frequently, the moments we shared will run through my head often.Thank you for pouring your emotional, financial, physical, and mental energy into me.

To My Family: Thank you to my family for all the FB messages and the constant “I’m so proud of you" statements. Even though you all are not familiar with what life in college was like, you understood my purpose and continued to push me to the end. Thank you for giving me all the love i needed during holiday breaks and being my motivation.

To My Mentors, Sponsors, and Programs: Lastly, thank you to all the scholarship foundations, career prep programs, and non-profits that believed in this little boy from the hoods of Atlanta. Your advice, guidance and financial support.

  • Raising Expectations

  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow

  • SOAR

  • Greenhouse Scholars ⁣⁣

  • Emma E. Dudley Scholarship⁣⁣

  • Inky & Allison Johnson Foundation⁣⁣

  • Bridging Our Youth Inc.⁣⁣

  • Brain Jordan Foundation

  • Project GRAD Brumley Scholarship ⁣⁣

  • 100 Black Men Emerging Leaders ⁣⁣

  • Coca-Cola Scholarship Foundation ⁣⁣

  • Burger King Scholars Program⁣⁣

  • Church’s Chicken Scholars Program ⁣⁣

  • Omega Psi Phi Talent Scholarship ⁣⁣

  • Delta Sigma Theta Oratorical Scholarship⁣⁣

  • BTW Class of 1952, 1964, and 1969 

I am currently raising funds for my relocation to New York! If you’d like to help donate here.