Recognize and Give Thanks

Recognize and Give Thanks

by Marcia Cantarella '68


My grandkids - - on both sides of my family both Black and White - - are the fifth generation to go to college. That makes them essentially unicorns.

I come from a long line of educators, disruptors and change agents.Beginning with my grandfather Whitney Young Sr. who ran a school with a secret college prep curriculum from the 1920s to the 1950s, to his son Whitney Young Jr., my father, who was the architect of the War on Poverty with LBJ, or his sister Arnita who flew planes for the Red Cross during WWII we have been engaged in making change. I have known powerful leaders, black and white who have been change agents and many have been part of our family legacy, and many continue that legacy today. We have had friends and allies from the white community whether serving with the National Urban League for my father or being life partners like my late husband Fancesco Cantarella, a leader in corporate responsibility.
I have had the chance to engage with college students, especially students of color to see them now in key leadership roles themselves. There have been the friends, classmates and allies with whom I have worked and played and who are change agents themselves yet unsung. There are so many that I know, and love and value who have been part of the battle for social good and equity. Yet so many are not recognized, let alone fully thanked for all they do or have done. This is my chance to do that through telling the story of how these people have been an amazing gift in my own life