I came to Oberlin without really knowing anyone. Yet, before stepping foot on campus I felt as if I had already established a connection with Alex Cunningham. I didn't personally know Alex, but I read her blog posts. From them I'd deduced two assertions:
Alex was great and I wanted to be her friend.
Fast-forwarding to now, I just finished up an amazing freshman year of college, I'm a rising second-year, and Alex is a graduate of Oberlin College and the holder of a (well-earned) Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Africana Studies.
At Oberlin, and in life, we talk a lot about the importance of mentor/mentee relationships. The idea that someone who has gone before you can guide you on your way is really paramount to the tenets of community. Alex was one of my many mentors. She was who inspired me to apply, and eventually write, for the blogs. I wouldn't be writing this right now, or considering a career in composition if it wasn't for Alex.
She has pointed me in the direction of resources that have supported me in several endeavors I otherwise would not have been able to take on. She has comforted me in times of stress, brought me food, told me silly jokes off of Google, advised me on what classes to take and what to run from, and helped me to navigate campus politics, all while being the exceptional student, friend, and big sister she is.
I've been contemplating for a couple weeks on how I could adequately honor Alex and the legacy she's left behind. My conclusion is that the best way I can honor her is to continue the work she so humbly engaged in: to promote prosperity in the many communities we shared stake in. To be the best student, friend, community member, and human I can be would be to properly replicate how Alex goes about her day-to-day.
I may have lost (at least in proximity) a mentor, but the greater world gained a warrior for righteousness, armed with fearlessness, compassion, and love for all.
Thank you, Alex.