Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen Speaks to Nichols School
Darius Pridgen, President of the Buffalo Common Council and senior pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church, spoke at Nichols’ Upper School meeting on Thursday to discuss racial equity, driving change in society and how young people can have a voice in that process as part of ongoing conversations at the school during Black History Month.
Pridgen, who is the parent of a Nichols alumna, Jocelyn Pridgen ’11, opened his presentation addressing students directly and encouraging them to be the change they want to make in the world: “You are not the leaders of tomorrow, you are the leaders right now. It doesn’t take you to be a certain age to be a leader.”
Pridgen remarked on Black excellence and how celebrating it is an important step in creating opportunities and fostering equity in our community. Pridgen noted the presence of Black leaders in many parts of the New York state government and the local government in Buffalo, and how that creates an opportunity to affect systems and drive lasting change.
Pridgen also shared a story from when he was stationed in Texas with the United States Air Force. He left and traveled to Georgia to join a protest supporting a man who wanted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day recognized by local businesses. When he got to Georgia, Pridgen was surprised to learn that the man who was being defended and supported through this protest was a white man. He shared this story to illustrate how every great movement that supports racial justice and system change comes about when people of all colors and all backgrounds are working together.
“Don’t take this month to simply learn history. Learn other people,” Pridgen said. “Learn who you’re standing next to, learn who’s in your classroom. It’s important for you to learn about other people, not just know them. Know what offends them. Know what they are excited about and what they’re afraid about. In this thing called life, there are some people who get great opportunities, and there are some people who get no opportunities. I just believe we live in a better world when those who have look and see those who have not and then seek…how we get more people of color in places where there is more opportunity.”
We are so thankful that Reverend Pridgen took the time to join our students, faculty and staff to share this powerful message!