Saturday’s events ended with some remarks from former Senator Mo Cowan. Sen. Cowan framed his initial remarks around “equality as it is and ought to be.” The Senator brought up the timeliness of sesquicentennium of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. However, he approached Lincoln’s pivotal moment from a balanced historical approach, giving it credit for paving the way for the road to equality, but not forgetting that as a whole it was a “calculated military decision” to take away forced labor in the South. Sen. Cowan’s overarching point was that while racial equality has come a long way in our nation, there is still much to be done that we cannot lose sight of.

Sen. Cowan also spoke on the inequalities present in our education system. Factors like the growing achievement gap and the exponential growth of tuition costs limit opportunities for minority students. Every child in the United States deserves a first-rate education, and it is up to us as citizens to demand the change needed to provide that opportunity.

After these initial remarks, Sen. Cowan took some questions from the audience, which primarily focused on the ineffectiveness of Congress. Cowan told a few humorous stories from his experiences, but lamented the fact that Congress is not focused on accomplishing real reform out of partisan fears. Real change, he emphasized, can only be accomplished if we the people relentlessly contact our members of Congress to make procedural reform to enable legislation to happen, as well as the cultural shift that must accompany it.

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