Photo of Laura Gardner
Mike Lovett
Laura Gardner, P’12

In late May, about a week after George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minne­apolis police, I got an email from Bil Mooney-McCoy ’78, a jazz musician and the director of worship at Gordon College, on Boston’s North Shore. He had just published a timely opinion piece in The Boston Globe titled “Calling in White,” about the built-in racism people of color encounter daily. The article’s subhead asked, “Is it too much to ask to have just one microaggression-free day?”

Bil wondered whether I might be interested in reprinting the essay in Brandeis Magazine. As he wrote in an email to me, “I think my [Boston Globe] piece was successful because it brought white people into my world and did so without factoiding, lecturing, statisticizing and berating. What the current national race conversation has revealed, among other things, is the extent to which many white folks have absolutely no clue about what Black Americans routinely experience. And that they have no clue that they have no clue. There is now an eagerness to understand.”

After a few more email exchanges with Bil, I asked him if he would write an essay exclusively for Brandeis Magazine, which he agreed to do. I also asked a handful of other alumni, students, faculty and staff to write about a personal experience that speaks to our current moment of racial reckoning. Most responded enthusiastically.

The experiences these Brandeisians describe in this issue’s cover story, “It’s a Moment of Racial Reckoning. Is It Also a Moment of Real Change,” will come as no surprise to some of our readers. Others may be shocked by the insidious yet routine, even banal, expressions of racism that mark our society.

Bil was right, of course — never underestimate the magnetic power of a personal story to bring to life what a mountain of statistics and lecturing can only hint at.

I hope our cover feature will help ignite in some small measure the “eagerness to understand” Bil believes this moment of racial reckoning offers.


Laura Gardner, P’12