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RLC students inspired by Father Brown

  • Father Joseph A. Brown delivers a presentation for Black History Month at Rend Lake College.

    Father Joseph A. Brown delivers a presentation for Black History Month at Rend Lake College.
    RLC Public Information

RLC Public Information
updated: 2/18/2023 9:37 AM

Rend Lake College recently hosted a presentation by Father Joseph A. Brown titled "Defining the Terms by Which We Live: The Circle of Our History."

With a focus on the importance of acknowledging African American history, Father Brown emphasized that this is a crucial aspect of self-awareness for not just those of color but for society as a whole. The event was open to the general public and drew a crowd of more than 60 individuals to the college's Student Center.

Father Brown delivered a passionate message, highlighting that black history is not merely a record of the past but an essential part of shaping our present and future. He emphasized the need to understand the importance of the African American community to create a more inclusive and just society.

"Actions by past political leaders influenced the treatment of African Americans throughout American history," he said. Father Brown pointed out the complexities of this issue, including highlights of past leaders who helped advance the cause of civil rights and those who helped perpetuate systems of oppression in the United States.

Listeners were captivated by Father Brown's stories of growing up as an African American man in the U.S. and how history shaped his experiences.

"We are not so far removed from this," he said. "My grandmother, just like Frederick Douglass, did not have the privilege of knowing her birthday. Children around her were able to celebrate on the day of their birth, but because of the circumstances, she was simply known as a fall baby or spring baby."

Father Brown also touched on the continuing struggle for equality and justice. He said it is important to acknowledge and address systemic racism and encouraged the audience to continue to educate themselves on black history to help build a better future.

"I was thoroughly engaged in Father Brown's delivery and the substance of his message," stated RLC sophomore Logan Jornd. "I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the presentation, and I am grateful for the opportunity to expand my understanding of the subject. The narrative regarding the dynamics between Frederick Douglass and Thomas Jefferson, in particular, was especially enlightening and relevant, despite being written 150 years ago."

"I attended the presentation to learn more about African American history," stated RLC sophomore Mackenzie Reeves. "As a black female with a Caucasian mother, it is crucial for me to connect with my cultural heritage. Unfortunately, my father passed away, so I missed learning more about this aspect of my identity. Nonetheless, Father Brown delivered a truly outstanding presentation that provided me with valuable knowledge."

Dr. Kirk Rhodes, coordinator of RLC's Learning Enhancement and CTE Success Center, played an instrumental role in organizing this event.

"Father Brown's message aligns with the leadership training I have received at the college," Rhodes said. "He emphasized the importance of stepping outside one's comfort zone and being proactive to drive progress. Father Brown's visit served as a powerful reminder that, despite the progress being made in the country, we all have a part to play in fostering relationships and moving forward together."

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