When time passes, sometimes it’s easy to forget or overlook things both big and small. Days, months and years pass more quickly than we can comprehend. In our lives that are so busy and fast-paced, it’s easy to just keep sprinting forward, unclear on a destination and unaware of the depth of the world around us. It sometimes seems like we are so engrossed in ourselves and where we are going, we fail to notice where we have been.
Our past makes us who we are. It’s woven into our DNA. It’s visible in our smiles and in our tears. We are who we are, by the grace of where we came from. As a Kent State student, I believe May 4, 1970, is a part of my past, as well. The students that came before me were brave. They had a purpose, a cause to speak out for, and they did so passionately. The students that came before me, that marched through the Commons I leisurely walk past, were activists. They protested for their rights, for their well-being and peace. The students that came before me inspire me. They inspire me to enact change when I see injustice and to stand up for what I believe in.
I wanted this issue of The Burr to resonate with our audience. With the 50th commemoration of May 4 right around the corner, I felt it crucial to engage The Burr’s audience with content that brings May 4 to life once again. As new waves of students come to Kent State, the thought of May 4, 1970, becomes increasingly distant. I wanted this issue to serve as a reminder of where we have been, how far we have come and how much farther we have to go as students, administrators, public officials, law enforcement, activists and people in general. Fifty years is a long time, but with this issue we strived to close that gap and draw more connections between the times.
This semester, The Burr’s staff immersed themselves in the history of May 4 to make all of this possible. We dug through the archives, we listened to the oral histories, we felt saddened and empowered, all while peeling back the layers of the tragic event we were not here for, yet is a part of each and every one of us.
I hope this issue of The Burr makes you think and feel. I hope you find something you connect to, something that moves you. The entirety of May 4 is vast, but I hope what we delved into in this issue enlightens you, empowers you and inspires you — just like the students that came before us.
Maria McGinnis is a senior journalism major with minors in advertising and psychology. She is currently editor-in-chief of A Magazine (@amagksu), features editor for The Kent Stater/KentWired and a blogger for The Burr. When she isn’t writing or working on school work, Maria loves to spend time with her family and friends, do yoga, bake and watch Netflix. She is currently rewatching “The Vampire Diaries” after finishing “Gossip Girl” during quarantine and would love some new streaming suggestions. Follow Maria on Instagram @maria.mae98 and on Twitter @MariaMcGinnis13.