We urge our peers and Cambridge neighbors in pursuit of vaccinations to carefully research the communities that they are entering; to vigilantly consider whose vaccine slots they may be taking up; and, most profoundly, to be mindful in their actions, understanding that vaccine retrieval — while broadly beneficial — can have countervailing effects if not pursued responsibly.
Harvard, which prides itself as the place where America’s future leaders are created, should allow its affiliates to tangibly partake in democracy without having to balance University-related obligations for one, crucial day. Engaging in civic and community action is important, and breaking from the Harvard bubble to serve communities in Cambridge and Boston is valuable. The Democracy Day proposal, which students have put thought and labor into crafting, facilitates both. All Harvard has to do is say yes.
Our university’s history is more than top-notch research, billionaire dropouts, and obscenely wealthy donors. The terror endured by Black students at Harvard — the emotional scars Harvard Klansmen and their flaming cross made — shouldn’t be forgotten. Its inclusion within our broader historical record might be embarrassing or disturbing, and rightly so. But it will also offer a fuller, more truthful account of what campus was truly like; one that allows students to place themselves within a nuanced and expansive continuum. A true history of our complex past — including the good, the bad, and the depressingly ugly — urgently needs writing.