Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to The Discovering Our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we share personal experiences so we can learn from each other.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:17):
And I'm Beth. On today's show. We're going to have an honest conversation titled, How Do WE Celebrate Juneteenth with Dr. Darryl.
Beth Demme (00:26):
Dr. Darryl Scriven (00:27):
Beth Demme (00:28):
Thanks for being with us. Darryl is a friend of mine. Actually, our spouses are closer friends. Darryl is married to the wonderful Dr. Latricia Scriven and she is the director at IMPACT, which is a United Methodist Wesley Foundation at Florida A&M University. But in the process of knowing Latricia, I've gotten to meet Darryl and so I'm really excited that you're here to have this conversation with us today. So you are currently serving, this is a sort of a new job for you, but you're currently the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Clarkson University. Right?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (01:05):
That's right. Clarkson is in Potsdam, New York, which is upstate and I've been here about two months. I started the day after Easter April 5.
Beth Demme (01:17):
Yeah, that's exciting. That's exciting that you... A whole new geography, a whole new climate really and so different from Florida or even where you were working before that. What we wanted to do is, we want to know more about Juneteenth. I know from talking with Latricia especially, that Juneteenth is something that you guys celebrate. Why don't we start by just saying, what is Juneteenth?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (01:41):
Okay. So Juneteenth is an African American holiday, where we celebrate the emancipation of people who were enslaved. We make a point to say, people who were enslaved and not slaves, has a different connotation. It celebrates the dignity of those persons who were in bondage. They were full persons, but they were enslaved. And so they were...
Dr. Darryl Scriven (02:12):
Well, let me just back up. September 22, 1862, President Lincoln gives Emancipation Proclamation supposed to go into effect January 1, 1863. But there were some territories that were slow to initiate and to ratify and to embrace and fully spread this proclamation. Some parts of Texas which were very remote, this was in the union, they didn't really get the word until 1865.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (02:52):
It's as after General Lee surrenders at Appomatox Court House. That's April. And then in June, there's some last skirmishes going on June 2. Well, June 19 is when this proclamation makes its way to the farthest reaches of Texas and Galveston and whatnot. And June 19, 1865 is that date and that's why Juneteenth is celebrated largely as a day of liberation. It goes by a couple of names, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Juneteenth, so when you hear any of those names, that's what it's referring to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:35):
What's interesting is, the more I was reading about it is it happened in stages. In Florida, it happened, I believe it was May 20th. And actually, I don't know if you had heard this, but the Tallahassee local government actually celebrated this year by having that off for all employees. Have you heard about that? What are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (04:00):
Yeah, I saw that. I think I got an email.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:03):
Yeah, I got an email too.
Beth Demme (04:05):
I got an email, "Your trash and utility services will be delayed [crosstalk 00:04:10]." Good, thank you. This is excellent.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (04:13):
I was like, "What's this about?" And so certain regions celebrate it at different times because the news came at different times and different spaces. But to your question to how would I feel about it, I'm great with people celebrating the liberation of humanity and also being reflective about how we can live together in relationship.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (04:38):
I know that... I'm not one of those people who criticizes people's efforts to embrace a painful narrative and then try to overcome it together. Some people take the position that it has to be done correctly, whatever that means, but we're all really trying to figure things out. And so for the stories to be told, for us to express empathy with one another, to hear our narratives, share in the suffering, healing and move forward together, see how we can do things in the present day in order to move forward in unity. That's really more of my emphasis.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (05:22):
When I saw that, I was surprised but I was also glad to see it in my email. So yeah. I can get my trash picked up a day later.
Beth Demme (05:34):
Dr. Darryl Scriven (05:35):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:36):
I will say, I got the trash email, but they also sent an email that, it might have been the same email, that actually had links to a lot of resources they had put together for different places in town that were doing kind of remembrance and things like that.
Beth Demme (05:50):
And doing a lot of it by Zoom because we're now in that mode after COVID.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:53):
Exactly. So I was encouraged to see trying, like you said. I think that was encouraging to me to see. But I would love to see, has there ever been a discussion about a national holiday for Juneteenth, like making that a day off for everybody?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (06:09):
Sure. There's been a lot of conversation about it. Over the years, I think most recently, Representative Sheila Jackson is trying to put forward a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday. And so there's conversation about it. I think there's been an affirmation vote in the Congress about it, not to make it a holiday, but to recognize it and what it stands for.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (06:38):
I think it's like the King Holiday. It was proposed years before by Shirley Chisholm. And it took from King's assassination till 1983 to actually be enacted because some people feel like presidents have holidays. They're reserved for certain stellar individuals, people that have made a mark. I think this is definitely worthy of remembrance, on a level. You can understand why people have mixed emotions about ratifying it on the level of not wanting to remember things that are painful, but at the same time, in order to move forward, much of our citizenry may need for this to be memorialized in a way that shows the kind of seriousness and gravity that it deserves.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (07:30):
It's ongoing discussion. And hopefully, there'll be some progress, especially given some of the things that we've seen in society with some of the violence, police brutality, Black Lives Matter movement, civil rights, struggles, etc.
Beth Demme (07:49):
Yeah. And voting rights struggles and how that's reaching the congressional level. Yeah. I can't imagine anyone... I hear what you're saying, that it brings up a painful past. But at the same time, it's hard for me to imagine anyone saying, "Oh, no. We don't want to celebrate emancipation. We don't want to celebrate the end of the era where we enslaved people." I think it's worth celebrating the end of that.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (08:12):
Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think some people see it as an impugning of their ancestry and culpability. There's a guilt politics and a blaming that people try to avoid. You can see with the Tulsa massacre that occurred, that we're really just now as a nation, talking about on a large scale and it was 100 years ago, that this occurred. And we're in the modern era. That same kind of thought process and sentiment goes into some people avoiding and saying, "Let's just move forward. These conversations divide us." But we all know that if you're going to have a group catharsis, there needs to be an acknowledgement of the harm done, a sincere reckoning and then we can move forward together.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:09):
Honestly, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I first became aware of Juneteenth last year. That is crazy that that-
Beth Demme (09:17):
Same for me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:18):
That is when I first understood what it was. But I'm assuming you knew about it before last year.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (09:25):
A little bit before last year.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:28):
I'm curious, is this something that you've celebrated your whole life? Is this something that you were aware of your whole life?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (09:34):
No, not at all. I think I became aware of it, and it's a good point, I think I became aware of it in my 20s. Maybe 20-25 years ago, I became aware of it, but it wasn't something that was just simply celebrates... It's kind of like Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa has been around since the 1960s as an African American heritage cultural holiday, but some people never knew about it, never celebrated coming up. I didn't celebrate it, but I've celebrated it in my married life with my children.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (10:11):
It's nothing to be embarrassed about not knowing about something or... Many people in the African American community don't know about Juneteenth. I'll say this, Beth, even to the point we were making before that some people put out of their historical narrative, discussions of enslavement, racism, Jim Crow because it's painful. They don't want to talk about it. They don't want it to be in the consciousness of their children. So they may put positive thinking to them and they may leave certain things out. But when they're in society and they encounter certain things, sometimes that perspective though painful, maybe what's needed to navigate what's being seen.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (11:06):
I think that the truth is we're all learning together in stages. As we learn together, we can do more together, to ensure that everyone feels valued. And that everyone feels the level of liberation that we should enjoy in 2021 and beyond.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:27):
I'm going to change my wording. I'm not embarrassed, I'm mad. And the reason I'm mad is because I went to elementary school, middle school, high school, college and I had never heard about that. I had never heard about it. I knew about slavery, I knew about the past of that enslaved people. I knew that but on such a surface level thing that the older I get, the more it makes me so mad that we aren't being educated about our history, our history, America's history.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:02):
I think that was something that I realized was, I've never heard about Juneteenth and that's something that I absolutely should have known about in school. Like you said, you didn't know about it until you're in your 20s. So I'm assuming you didn't learn about it in school either.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (12:17):
Yeah, I didn't learn about it in school, probably more so on during cultural celebrations, that I would see out in the community, that I learned about certain things, certain traditions and very well meaning community that I was in, but just wasn't exposed to having those conversations.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (12:43):
I wasn't reading about those things in school. I'd read a lot of stuff, but I wasn't reading or hearing about that. I know that curriculum can be selective, it can also... It can fashion a narrative that put certain things in certain light. It depends on where you grow up to. It may not be as a politically acceptable in the deep South to lift up.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (13:11):
I remember when I was living in Georgia and my kids were in elementary school. I came to the class and talked about Tuskegee, because I was working at the University at the time. My daughter was very knowledgeable about it, about the syphilis study done there and the Tuskegee Airmen and some of the contributions of the African Americans to the American situation and it wasn't fully being appreciated by the instructor at the time. And so, you can't always put it on bias or malice.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (13:50):
Sometimes it's ignorance and sometimes there's a certain political line that people walk when they're employed by school systems. I got more exposure in college. I was very thankful for that. But then there's some things, I went to an HBCU that I learned in grad school in Indiana, about the Black experience and so I can reflect back and say, "Well, why didn't I learn that at FAMU?" Or, "Why didn't I learn that at some of my neighborhood schools?" Or whatnot? And so it's just a process. And it could be the case that I was exposed to the information, but I didn't have the consciousness to receive it all at the time. So it's both/and but we can still move forward.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:36):
Do you think that's going to change in schools, that we have a more complete history of our country, or is there anything we can do about that?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (14:44):
See I think with some of the modern movements and particularly some of the cries for inclusivity and diversity that we see, that we're going to have a revisiting of the curricula, of the content. We're going to have very different groups of people at the table to give input on what should be there and what shouldn't be there that reflects the entirety of the student population being served. As my mentors told me, one condition of truth is that you have to allow suffering to speak.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (15:23):
We oftentimes want it to be the superlative and the parades and the glory Hallelujah. But there are some deep points of immiseration and suffering, that have to speak in order for us to really have a comprehensive idea what the truth is.
Beth Demme (15:43):
I think we've seen that with the movement to make sure that we say the names, that we say Breonna Taylor, that we say Ahmaud Arbery, that we say George Floyd, that we remember these terrible moments so that we can stop them from happening. Ultimately, that would be that would be the goal. So yeah, let the suffering speak.
Beth Demme (16:06):
So how do you celebrate Juneteenth? We're coming up on June 19th. How are you going to celebrate it?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (16:13):
The same way we do with Kwanzaa and other holidays we celebrate. We try to have reflective time where we will sit down and we would talk about liberation, what the meaning of liberation is, what would it have meant to our ancestors to see us in this moment, how can we maximize this moment? What will it mean to be in community and to do things that go beyond us personally, but institutionally build and cooperate with people who are allies in a struggle for freedom.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (16:49):
And how that transcends just our condition, how it extends to people who are under siege for their orientation, or they're politically under siege in other places or food insecurity and unnecessary situations. Enlarging the scope of liberation, looking back at where we are to see what tools we have, what fish and bread we have to share and we can multiply.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (17:20):
It's a reflective time. There'll be times when we may participate in a joint celebration that's happening just to show solidarity with people who love freedom and liberation, just as an encouragement, because sometimes when you're doing freedom work, you get drained, you get lonely and coming together energizes. We always would try to do something that borders on service. Depending on if we're doing something with the church, or if it's an event out in the city or whatnot and it's harder to do now that our children are young adults because they're gone...
Beth Demme (18:08):
Yeah, doing their own things. Yeah. They are doing their own things.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (18:08):
Let them know. But it's just an amazing time to be able to reflect and feel agency that you can participate and they can be substantial.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:20):
That's kind of how I, the more I've read about it, kind of what I've thought about it was, it's like two things. It's reflecting and it's celebrating because it's reflecting on all of the enslaved people that were enslaved for so long and then celebrating that they weren't enslaved anymore. Like celebrating that moment.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:43):
For me, this is American history. And this is something that is part of my history and I feel like it's something that I want to celebrate. Is that appropriate? Is this something that White people need to celebrate?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (18:55):
Absolutely. Absolutely, because I think it's a journey from darkness to light for us all. Because enslavement captured us all at that time. We were all in a darkened state, whether it was physical bondage or the kind of soul on iciness that comes with treating people as commodity and chattel and whatnot. For us to have surrendered that ideology is something to celebrate by everybody that we're no longer in a social situation where we have to enforce that or either go along with it for fear of being victimized by a governmental system that is benefiting from it and willing to kill to protect it.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (19:51):
So now, the movement and layers of liberation that we all experience is something to celebrate. Absolutely. I think about... When the proclamation came to those people on Juneteenth, it wasn't just simply, "You're free." It said, "Enslavement is over." But what was also part of that edict was a declaration that said, "Don't just leave. Stay in the area and engage in an employer and employment relationship. So work for the people that you used to be enslaved by, and get wages and don't try to show up at the military base, because we're not going to tolerate any laziness or loitering."
Dr. Darryl Scriven (20:46):
You can see that even though the message of chattel slavery ending was being delivered, there was still some Jim Crow and some segregation and some abject racism that was still in place. So it was going to take generations and years to surrender those things. As we all come to grips with that, because I would argue that that kind of bondage, White supremacy, patriarchy, it traumatized us all and we're all shedding the effects of that trauma. And so yes, it's something to celebrate as we come to grips with that common humanity more and more every day.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:34):
Is there any like... And I think about that, too, is once they got the word that they weren't enslaved anymore, what did that period look like right after? What did that look like? Because like you said, then they were told, "Well, now tell them to pay you and you're going to work..."
Beth Demme (21:50):
There was a real economic opportunity.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:51):
Yeah. What did that look like? Is there any like... Have they made any films about that? I feel like that would be such an interesting movie.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (22:00):
Well, there's a lot of writing about the reconstruction period, that it's about a 20-year period, 20-25 year period between after slavery or enslavement that you had the most elected African American elected officials, statewide elections. They were winning statewide elections, because there was a dense population of free Black persons in the Southern states. And so you're going to get popular vote, they're going to get elected.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (22:36):
After that period though of prosperity, then enters this period of Jim Crow, where these restrictive laws and these voting laws and these grandfather clauses, your grandfather had to be able to vote or you can't vote, etc., etc., limits this Black freedom and prosperity. While it was new and it was occurring and people were celebrating and embracing opportunity, it was amazing.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (23:10):
In some states, you haven't had a statewide elected African-American since reconstruction. That tells you the kind of impact that ending that period and some of those voter suppression laws and Jim Crow laws had on the climate, political climate and possibilities for people of color.
Beth Demme (23:38):
It's why all the voting rights changes that are happening now are so frustrating.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:42):
Beth Demme (23:42):
Because it's such a return to-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:44):
I know, it's so frustrating because we just keep going in these cycles. We get better and then we go back. The more you look at our history, though, that's what I keep seeing. I'm like, "We've been here before. Why are we keep going back here?"
Dr. Darryl Scriven (23:57):
Yeah, yeah. Exactly.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:58):
Which is with everything.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (24:00):
So you mentioned that, so Raphael Warnock who was elected senator in Georgia, Trish and I actually remember is that Ebenezer while he was pastor, when we moved to town in Atlanta. I could be wrong, but he might be the first African American senator elected since reconstruction. There are long periods of time where you have statewide elections in the South where you can have a majority Black population and still not have an African American elected official statewide.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (24:43):
Locally, sure, but not statewide. Because given our delegated republic, your senators and your representatives are the people who supposedly stand for you and you have a majority of Black population in the state and then oppressive voting laws, restrictive voting laws, exclusionary codes, enforcement and who gets to own homes and who gets to have loans and whatnot. It can be demoralizing.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (25:20):
We're in a brand new day when we are electing and the voice of Black women, particularly in a context like Georgia is so prominent, whether the mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who's also a FAMU graduate, Stacey Abrams, who was very instrumental in helping.
Beth Demme (25:45):
And whose parents are United Methodist pastors. Thank you very much. Stacey Abrams' parents.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (25:48):
[crosstalk 00:25:48]. Etc. Exactly. So, Lift Every Voice and Sing for us is not just a national anthem in the Black community. But it also personifies that we want everybody's voice to be heard in this democratic conversation, because we can't be our best selves unless we hear from everybody in the Civitas. And that includes Black, White, native. Everyone needs to lift their voice and be counted and also to sing so their voice can be heard.
Beth Demme (26:29):
Yeah, there are even ways and I don't remember exactly why I learned this. I think that it was around the time that Senator Warnock was elected. I probably heard it on a podcast, but they were talking about how the Georgia system is set up to be like another mini republic.
Beth Demme (26:48):
So that the different voting districts have sort of equal weight, so that where you have a majority population in say Cobb County, where Atlanta is, the vote there sort of gets diluted, because it is equal to the more rural populations, where there would be fewer people and also there would be fewer people of color. Your vote counts less if you're in a more populated area.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (27:18):
Right. It's a form of disenfranchisement, because you voted, but your vote doesn't count the weight that it should which for many African Americans, feels like the three fifths compromise where people were counted as three fifths of a person in relation to the voting booth. On the one hand, politically, it was done to dilute the vote of Southern planters. But when you look at it holistically, the dignity and the humanity of persons is under assault when they are told that their vote...
Dr. Darryl Scriven (28:01):
Now, I will say this, it wasn't like the enslaved people were getting to cast their own votes. It was the planter, getting to say, "I have 300 votes, because I have 500 enslaved people." It's complex on a level, but the dignity assault is still there. And so when you read that back into Georgia and you say okay, here we go, again, with the whole Hocus Pocus with the with the boundaries and you can't vote absentee ballot and you can't do this, because if you can make voting laws, you can rig outcomes.
Beth Demme (28:39):
Right? And when we look back historically and we see who were the who were the power brokers, who have always been the power brokers? Specifically, if we look back to the Jim Crow era, we see a lot of Klan members are running governments and are making some of those decisions.
Beth Demme (28:58):
That's another part of our history that I think people who look like me, White people who have always lived in the South, I think that it's hard for us to come to terms with that. Because as you said, at the beginning, there's a sense of culpability and guilt there. I think we just have to get over ourselves and really just deal with it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:15):
But we're so sensitive.
Beth Demme (29:17):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:17):
We're so sensitive.
Beth Demme (29:19):
We are. We are.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (29:20):
But the truth is though there are lots of kinds of people everywhere. So when I got up here to Potsdam, I knew that I would be upstate New York and I knew I'll be close to Canada. But one thing I noticed when I was driving up, I saw a lot of Dixie flags.
Beth Demme (29:38):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:39):
Dr. Darryl Scriven (29:39):
People think of New York as a monolith and it's just super blue and super liberal. It's kind of like Atlanta. Atlanta may be blue and liberal by and large, but outside of Atlanta, Georgia is extremely conservative. And so what people don't understand about New York is outside a lot of those urban centers, people are extremely conservative.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (30:10):
Because we have all kinds of people with all kinds of cultural identities and affinities, we really have to appeal to this evolving standards of decency and shared idea of humanity. Because without it, we're just going to be Hatfields and McCoys just kind of fighting it out and not gaining ground, but everybody loves their children, everybody wants to be free, everybody deserves to have dignity and live with respect. If we can agree on that, then we can come together and make rules that do that for everybody.
Beth Demme (30:52):
So Clarkson is not an HBCU, is that right?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (30:56):
That's right. That's right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:57):
So you need to say what that stands for.
Beth Demme (31:00):
So an HBCU is a historically black college or university. The university that you were at before, Clarkson was an HBCU. And you mentioned that you have a graduate degree from FAMU, which is historically a Black college.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (31:16):
I have a math degree from FAMU and a philosophy degree from FAMU. And then my graduate degree in philosophy is from Purdue.
Beth Demme (31:25):
In Indiana. Right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:26):
Beth Demme (31:27):
Yes. A lot of degrees.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (31:28):
Clarkson is not an HBCU. So my whole career has been intentionally in HBCUs, trying to give back to a population because, again, in the spirit of Juneteenth, one thing that black people in America were denied was education, the ability to read, ability to study, to be credentialed and so these institutions were established some right around the end of the Civil War, some at the end of reconstruction.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (32:04):
Anywhere from the 1860s to the 1890s, where the public's were established, because of the second Morrill Act, land grant colleges. There were some privates that were established by some of the churches, AME church, etc. But I saw it as a mode of consciousness and reinvestment to give back to some of these schools to further their mission and to also help this population who started in circumstances similar to mine.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (32:42):
I've been teaching at HBCU since 1998 from Wilberforce in Ohio, to Southern University, which is my wife's alma mater in Baton Rouge. Tuskegee, I was in the bioethics center there, in Alabama. And then Florida A&M, I was there for a couple years and then most recently, Winston Salem State, in North Carolina.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (33:08):
And so Clarkson is my first non-HBCU institution. I'm very happy to be here. One of their aspirations is diversity. Me coming is part of that. So that's part of that commitment. People of color is low. It'll definitely be increased. The ratio of men to women is 70:30.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:36):
Dr. Darryl Scriven (33:37):
Yeah. And so you don't find that in many places. And so it's a research to technical institution. 50% of our students are engineering and we have over five STEM PhD programs, business school. And so one of my goals and the university goals is to bring in more diversity and more women in the STEM, but also in other areas and because I just believe you have a better educational experience when you have the multiplicity of voices at the table singing and doing the work.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:16):
So I'm curious with, since you've had the HBCU experience and now you have kind of complete opposite it sounds like with... They brought you in specifically for that diversity. Did you see a celebration of Juneteenth at the schools you're at before verse where you are now? Well, you've only been there two months, so you probably haven't actually had a Juneteenth.
Beth Demme (34:39):
Dr. Darryl Scriven (34:40):
There's no Juneteenth but we have a very intentional diversity effort. They have raised the diversity officer to a cabinet position, who reports to the President. And so our chief diversity officer, Jen Ball, actually went to Purdue with me and she is very intentional about celebrating the accomplishments of diverse populations, of LGBT community, helping to be involved in recruiting efforts.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (35:18):
She was on the committee that brought me in. So it matters. It matters when people who are vested in shifting a culture are on search committees. The reason we have the same demographic that gets hired over and over again, in certain places is because the same demographics are doing the hiring. We have to change some of those in the HR space and the search committee space in order to achieve some of these diversity initiatives that we have. So yeah, Clarkson is an evolving in terms of the fundamentals, but it wants to transcend itself. That's part of its mission to transcend itself. And what has been said about it, historically, is that it has the ability to recreate itself.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (36:09):
And so I talked to an alum who was there when the first class of 12 women came. And now we have 30%. So you might say, if you look at other institutions that have 60%, women, you might say, "Well, 30% is abysmal." But compared to 12 people, 30%...
Dr. Darryl Scriven (36:31):
So it's all relative and it's all progress. And so we try to celebrate progress. But to your question about Juneteenth being celebrated, because it happens in the summer and the main semesters are fall and spring, you don't really see a lot going on most campuses regarding Juneteenth. But you see it in the city. I know that FAMU does certain festivals whether it may be Juneteenth or Khumba Festivals from Kwanzaa, khumba meaning creativity, where the arts and the crafts and the department I was over, visual arts, humanities and theater was a big participant in some of those festivals. And so you see it where consciousness is and the more that consciousness is spread, the more you'll see it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:24):
So my last question is do you ever get tired explaining all this to white people? Does this like-
Dr. Darryl Scriven (37:33):
No, I don't. I don't.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:34):
Dr. Darryl Scriven (37:35):
I'll tell you why. Because I start from a place of humility because whatever, our origin, we all have come from a place where we didn't know something. We were curious about something or we were a little hesitant to ask for fear of being insensitive or coming off as obtuse or whatever.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (38:06):
But the truth is, if I can affirm myself and my sincerity, the least I can do is extend that affirmation to other people. And so I presume that if somebody is asking me a question or we're in a conversation, it's a sincere moment. And you just never know. You could be talking with the person who could help take the freedom struggle to the next level. Because within them is the gift that you needed to connect with you to take things further.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (38:39):
Maybe that's the educator in me, maybe that's the optimist in me, maybe that's the believer in people's divinity. But no, I don't get tired of it. In fact, I welcome it. It refreshes me to have a conversation where we're all evolving and striving to be better.
Beth Demme (38:59):
Darryl, thank you so much for having this conversation with us. I really appreciate it. I really appreciate your time but also appreciate your sincerity and your warmth and just always love talking with you. So thank you for this.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (39:20):
Yeah, thank you all. Thank you all for lifting up Juneteenth and liberation. Struggle for human liberation worldwide continues and it happens largely on a local level. So I appreciate what you all are doing because by opening up yourself to these kinds of conversations, other people are healed and they're made better. So thank you both.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:47):
You're welcome. And thank you again and I hope to see you in person in Tallahassee.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (39:53):
Absolutely. You will. I do make an appearance every-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:56):
Awesome. I'm vaccinated. So I'm safe.
Beth Demme (39:59):
Dr. Darryl Scriven (39:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:02):
So I have one last question for you. What book, TV show or podcast are you excited about right now?
Dr. Darryl Scriven (40:10):
Book is Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:15):
I like that.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (40:21):
The premise is mentors mean you well but sponsors are people that help you and you can help them. It's a mutually beneficial relationship.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:34):
Well, we're going to look that up for sure. I like that.
Beth Demme (40:36):
Yes, we will put a link to that in the show notes for sure. Even that metaphor makes a lot of sense to us. Just having gone through a step study and understanding the role of a sponsor, that's really excellent. We'll definitely put a link to that in the show notes. Thank you so much for that.
Dr. Darryl Scriven (40:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:58):
At the end of each of episode we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that we will read and leave a little pause between and you can find a PDF of them on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (41:09):
Number one, how did you first become aware of Juneteenth? Number two, how do you feel about the historical significance of Juneteenth? Number three, why is Juneteenth important for every American? And number four, how will you celebrate Juneteenth with your family going forward?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:31):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.