To not see the bad,
To not try and tune it out.
To smile and commemorate momentous occasions
On land others were brutalized on.
The approach, I had been told
Was to tune it out.
Pretend nothing had happened.
That worked well for the boys in my politics discussions.
Not for me.
You cannot tune out the brutalization of the enslaved peoples,
Peoples that built The Lawn.
That built Jefferson’s University.
The UVA student, true UVA student, does not tune out.
They tune in to what has happened
They acknowledge the past
Commit to moving forward
To doing better
To being better.
It’s easy to walk past Jefferson’s statue,
Stare at it in awe.
But the UVA student does not forget the Nazis that stood around it,
And that those Nazis were happy to see Jefferson still standing.
And it may seem sad, so, so sad
To recount this part of the representation,
But we take our past, and we move forward.
The old UVA student pretended to not know,
The new remembers, the new learns, and the new grows.
We hate Jefferson, but we love our University,
We love it because we make it in our image—
We make it inclusive and welcoming,
A kick into Jefferson’s teeth.
I wanted to make sure that this aspect of the UVA student was shown, and that where UVA has been and where students want it to go is clear.