Letter from the Editor, April 2019
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
By Ufon Umanah
There’s no more important task before us than the preservation of history.
I’m not saying this because without history, we’re little better than animals, as certain shows would have us believe. We are capable of monstrous things knowing full well the history behind it.
However, without history we tend to believe that sudden occurrences are novel instead of routine. You should root for Wu + Nussbaum with the under- standing that it’s hard to be a local city storefront these days (p. 5). You should read the SHIFT report from Columbia, understanding that a lot of students before you or I contributed to the data we now have to absorb (p. 27). And you should understand the recent protests against Public Safety as within a long and complicated history betwixt students, safety, and a right to belong (p. 22).
But a general history isn’t enough. We grow up with different histories that inform our view on the world. History is what motivated María Hinoajosa to invoke the history of immigrants during this year’s Dinkins Public Forum (p. 20). Abroad, we need to consider how local histories inform world perspectives, as I think Professor Stanislawski would say (p. 12). And in understanding that history, we can address policy issues like student retention (p. 35).
Of course history, even competing histories, can build a case (p. 34). But there’s something else. Every year, as students are forced out of housing to leave with the peacocks (p. 4) and wonder whether to stay here for the summer, we lose a fourth of the population in a snap, a fourth of our memory. It comes back, but not in the same way. And we have to find a way to adapt despite that loss. And really, the only way to do that is to know your history.
May your summer be long and plentiful as you turn the page on this academic year. And remember, valar bughis, valar rebis. All men must swim, all men must pass.