Loving, Merciful and Universally Inclusive -LMU

Loyola Marymount University,
Loving, Merciful and Universally Inclusive space,

With periscopic eyes
and cat’s ears
Listening, Moving through this Universally Inclusive graduation space. 
A space originated in Eurocentric Historical Cultural Religiosity.
Yet, embarking on a journey towards listening, diversity, and inclusivity.
A Latino graduation space.
A Kente graduation space.
An LGBQT+ graduation space.
An Asian-Pacific graduation space.
An International student space.

A unique space,
empowering African descendants to celebrate,
not their birth in Africa, but Africa’s birth in them.

Not wearing “Made in China” sashes,
But Kente sashes, handwoven by students in the Motherland.

Not abandoning Euro-centric imposed names,
but adding meaningful West African names.

Not calling down ancestral spirits from the heavens,
but evoking ancestral spirits from the earth with the rite of libation.

Not rewarding only intellectual prowess,
but honouring and celebrating service to the community.

Not graduating students,
but celebrating students’ Rites of Passage.
That Loving, Merciful and Universally Inclusive space,
richly blessed with the words of Obioma Somotochi Ugori, the Valedictorian, “Ninety-nine per cent of the ethical life is being kind to people. . .  Life is fundamentally about people.”

That Loving, Merciful and Universally Inclusive space,
splendidly hallowed with the Commencement keynote speaker, Martin Sheen, “The most important needs of every human being on earth are not only food, clothing and shelter but equally the need for justice, healing, and mercy; without the latter, the former are useless.”
Loyola Marymount University,
Loving, Merciful and Universally Inclusive space,
a space shaping students’ minds, bodies, hearts, and soul
to “ignite a brighter world”,
a LMU world,
a Loving, Merciful and Universally Inclusive space.

“Go Lions. Ignite a brighter world!”

(This piece was inspired by my attendance at the Loyola Marymount University 2023 Commencement Exercise, where my Goddaughter, Jodi-Ann Donique Francis, graduated.)

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