🎶 There’s just too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.🎶

Dear Huntsville Police Department:

Perhaps during the next protest, rather than climbing into a sniper’s nest, rather than surrounding a stupid outdated statue on a southern square, rather than avoiding the people to protect brick and mortar, rather than gassing and shooting peaceful protesters for hoping for a sense of humanity from you, perhaps, just perhaps, you could take off your body armor, and just talk to the people?


Believe it or not, that really is all the people are looking for from you.

Just some sense that you’re not our enemy. And that you see us as humans.

And not as targets.

An Open Letter to My Students- Black Lives Matter

An Open Letter to My Students: Black Lives Matter

Dear Students:

It’s June 3, 2020, and believe it or not, I’m at a loss for words.

It’s been an impossibly stressful few months when we’ve moved from getting to hang out in class to isolation at home with people, especially people of color, getting sick and dying all around us. It feels like the end of the world.

On May 13, 2020, in a town I used to call my home, Breonna Taylor a 26 year old emergency room tech, barely older than any of you, was drug from her apartment and shot to death by Louisville Police. They shot her eight times.

And then on Memorial Day, it got much worse when four police officers arrested and murdered George Floyd in eight minutes and forty-six seconds.

It recalls for me the dark days of March 1991 when I was in school working on my Master’s degree. Then the verdict of not guilty was released after the whole world watched as three LAPD policemen savagely beat Rodney King in South Los Angeles.

It recalls for me the countless times between when black men, black women, and god help us, even black babies just playing in a park, have been gunned down by the very people we expect to protect us.

There just aren’t words for my rage when I think, this could be, and dammit probably will be, one of my students.

And so while there aren’t words for this, I cannot stay silent. I will not stay silent.

I am a middle-aged white man who has been born and raised in the South. I have benefited from our racist society for far too long. I have cried at the sights on TV but done far too little to stop the racism.

I’m sorry for my part, both direct and indirect, in allowing our world to be the way it is.

It ends today.

I love my students. Even those of you I’ve just met, I love you. It has been a privilege to teach and learn with you at our Historically Black College for the past 17 years. I’ve dedicated my life to helping you improve yours by helping you master communicating the ideas that are in your head. I’ve done this because I believe those ideas need to be heard.

I need to hear your thoughts. This is why I teach writing.

And so I promise you this:

  1. I will shut up and listen to you. I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in America, but you do. And I will shut up and listen to what you have to say. And I will believe you.
  2. I will speak out on your behalf to those of my color who attempt to demean, debase, and abuse you.
  3. I will embrace you as my brothers and sisters and fight with you against the injustice that is rotting our world and killing our children.
  4. I will stand with you.

It’s a horrible world where something like this needs to be written and spoken aloud, but I will, with your help and guidance, reject the position of privilege that is afforded me by my skin color, and I will work with you to make our world a place where my children and yours can walk freely, drive freely, live freely without fear of flashing blue lights.

Black Lives Matter.

My students matter. And I refuse to allow a racist society to continue to abuse you.

We are going to change this world. Together.


Russell Winn

Humanities Instructor

🎶 When I feel cold, you warm me When I feel I can’t go on, you come and hold me.🎶

🎶 It’s so easy to hurt others when you can’t feel pain.🎶

🎶 Hey, think the time is right for a palace revolution. 🎶

🎶 Everybody wants to look the other way, when something wicked this way comes.🎶

🎶 But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation.🎶

🎶 There’s a dream that strings the road With broken glass for us to hold 🎶

🎶 I have climbed highest mountain, I have run through the fields, Only to be with you. 🎶

🎶 You’ve been the hole in my sky You’re my shrinking water supply Before my well runs dry Fill it up again. 🎶

🎶 Think about how many times I have fallen Spirits are using me, larger voices callin’ What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten 🎶

🎶 When I’m walking by the water Splish splash me and you takin a bath When I’m walking by the water Come up through my toes To my ankles To my head To my soul I’m blown away. 🎶

🎶 When everything feels all over Everybody seems unkind I’ll give you a four leaf clover Take all worry out of your mind 🎶

🎶 The wild and windy night that the rain washed away 🎶

🎶 All we have to see Is that I don’t belong to you And you don’t belong to me.🎶

🎶 This is going to take a long time And I wonder what’s mine Can’t take no more (can’t take no more) Wonder if you’ll understand It’s just the touch of your hand Behind a closed door🎶

🎶 Wind was blowing time stood still … 🎶

🎶 And you won’t read that book again because the ending’s just too hard to take.🎶