So this has been a long time coming. I’m proud and humbled to help usher in what I hope to be a new tradition here at The Good 5 Cent Cigar. This edition of the paper is going to be dedicated to discussing the current state of race relations in both the University of Rhode Island and our country as a whole.

With that being said, my ultimate goal is that this opens up a dialogue for a more inclusive world and university. The only way to right our wrongs is to actively address them and work toward progression. In my four years here at URI, I have seen both amazing moments of humanity and the epitome of modern racism. This is the case in just about any place you go in the United States. Right now we’re going to talk about that.

There are days when I feel too tired or angry to address these issues. There is so much room for progress within our generation, though, that I honestly feel like it is a disservice not to use our resources to the best of our capabilities and make our environment better than it used to be. If nothing more, I hope the hard work and dedication within these pages is recognized. I want this to be something that people are proud of.

I fully understand the touchiness of this situation and even some of the opposition people may have about us running an issue of this nature. There are people who may feel that this will do nothing more than rile people up or create unnecessary conflict. Others might just not want to read about something as pressing as our current state in race relations. I understand those sentiments and I hope this paper in its entirety will address those who feel this way.

There are acts of racism people on this campus face on a daily basis, both big and small, that have no business being found on a college campus in 2016. That being said, this school has also cultivated within me a knowledge and passion that I never knew I would find. There are many people of many different races and backgrounds on this campus that inspire me to do better each and every day.

I sincerely believe that this edition of the paper would have been impossible to develop without the help of so many people. For that, I would like to thank anyone that has supported, supports or will support this edition of the Cigar. To all of the individuals and organizations that had a hand in the creation of this issue no matter the size of the contribution, once again, thank you.

For anyone who may think that racism is dead or that we are simply “past that,” I hope the stories inside of this issue help you see the other side of things. Racism is alive and well. Humanity has the potential to overcome hate and bigotry, but only if we are willing to work together and if we are willing to talk to each other about the fact that these problems are very real and very relevant. I hope you find this issue both interesting and impactful.

With nothing but love,
Brandon Maxwell