Guest Viewpoint

(Maisie Plew/Emerald)

This piece reflects the views of the UO's Black Student Task Force, and not those of Emerald Media Group. It has been edited by the Emerald for grammar and style. Send your columns or submissions about our content or campus issues to [email protected]

Dear UO Community and Board of Trustees,

By now, you have had an opportunity to read University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill’s decision to name the forthcoming Black Cultural Center after UO alumna, advisor and activist Lyllye Reynolds-Parker.

We are thrilled to hear that President Schill has decided to support Mrs. Parker’s nomination for the naming of the Black Cultural Center. Mrs. Parker has had, and continues to have a profound effect on the University of Oregon and the entire state of Oregon's Black community. She is the epitome of resilience and perseverance; Mrs. Parker is an example that all things are possible. 

In a time when many campuses around the country are at divergence of historical legacies of building namesakes and are being torn over denaming of buildings, our University, led by President Schill, has created a powerful example of how to create new legacies that can stand the test of time by naming the BCC after Mrs. Parker, an individual who has advocated for Black students in every aspect of her life.

We thank President Schill the countless alumni, current students, and professors for supporting Mrs. Parker’s nomination. We also thank the Associated Students of the University of Oregon President Sabinna Estephania Pierre, the 2018-19 Umoja Black Scholars, the Black Student Union, Black Law Students Association, and African Students Association for their letters of support. Their support is a prime example of a united Black student community on our campus.

And of course, most importantly, we thank Mrs. Parker for her lifetime of service and continued impact on Black student success at the University of Oregon. Mrs. Parker is one of the most important individuals to ever step afoot on the University of Oregon Campus. It is fitting that the BCC should bear Mrs. Parker’s name. We congratulate her on this well-deserved honor. 

We urge the Board of Trustees to heed President Schill’s recommendation and formally make the naming of the BCC after Mrs. Lyllye Reynolds-Parker official.

If an individual with such a proverbial heart of gold, towering intellect, and prodigious capacity for compassion is not easily selected for this honor, we are afraid no one could be.

Sincerely,

University of Oregon Black Student Task Force