Founders’ Day speaker: Racism, hate legitimized under Trump

Khaelyn Jackson/Courtbouillon

Khaelyn Jackson/Courtbouillon
Councilman Jay Banks giving Founder's Day Convocation Keynote Address

NEW ORLEANS (October 23, 2020) – The cancer of racism and hate permeating the nation is not new, but it’s once again been legitimized since Donald Trump’s election, according to Councilman Jay Banks, and that’s why Trump must be defeated Nov. 3.

“Go to the polls to help end this madness,” he urged the audience. “Bring somebody with you.” He said America must demonstrate that the majority of this country does not believe in his philosophy

Banks, a New Orleans native and Dillard alumnus (Class of 1982) was principal speaker at the university’s celebration of the 152nd year of its founding during an outside ceremony on The Oaks attended by socially distant graduating seniors. More than 1,700 others watched and listened online as the event was livestreamed.

Banks warned the nation could “implode from the inside” and cited some of the alarming incidents Trump has allowed and/or condoned:

  • “Snatching babies” from the arms of their parents because they’re immigrants, with no plan to reunite them.
  • Issuing travel bans for people of certain religions.
  • Calling white supremacists “very good people” and promoting domestic terrorists (the Proud Boys) interested in starting a civil war.
  • Refusing to call out Russian President Vladimir Putin for bounties placed on the heads of American soldiers abroad.

Banks listed 40 black lives lost to uniformed law enforcement officers after the death of George Floyd on May 25. Banks said 46 other black Americans were killed police in the time span between the killings of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who was murdered March 13.

Banks said that he’s “100 percent pro-Black Lives Matter…that doesn’t mean I’m anti-police.” He said he is against “rogue cops who slaughter people.”

The alumnus cite the community ills that were here when he was young that are still here but manifested differently – drugs, racism, violence and poverty, among others.

“Make no mistake: When you walk in the door, you are not only judged, but there are individuals that will determine your access and your opportunity before you even have a chance to say hello,” he said.

Even so, not all is gloom and doom, he said.

“Each of you has the power to make it better,” Banks said. “Dillard has a history of graduating people who make a difference. Many names you recognize, and many you won’t. But you don’t have to be on the cover of Time magazine to be great.”

“Success will come in a very simple way: Apply yourself, do all that you can do, and when you have the opportunity to help somebody improve their lives, do that.”

Banks earned his bachelor’s degree from Dillard in Business Administration and his master’s in Organizational Management from Springfield College (Massachusetts). The lifelong resident represents District B on the council and is active in several state and local Democratic Party committees.

He reigned as 2016 King Zulu and is chair of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club’s board of directors.

President Walter Kimbrough revised his usual phrase about graduation being tomorrow. Instead, he said, “It’s today,” referring to the start of early voting and the need for seniors to start now with applications for graduate school and/or jobs.

Kimbrough said, “May 15 is just the last day of graduation…Graduation has begun.” He said each senior should ask: What am I going to do now to be prepared when the last day comes on May 15?