Georgetown University Pride apologized on Sunday for a spoken word poem presented by Willem Miller — the group’s representative at last Friday’s Mr. Georgetown pageant — in which he described his concerns about raising a black child in this country.
In a Facebook statement, the group admitted to its troubled approach to racial issues within the organization without explicitly mentioning Miller’s performance. During the talent section of the pageant, Miller, who is white, performed a spoken word poem that touched on the black experience amid ongoing national dialogue on police brutality.
“What took place during the Mr. Georgetown competition was inexcusable and not the narrative we want to define us, but it has,” the post wrote. “GU Pride has engaged with the topic of racial justice in a manner that has often been idle, ineffective, and offensive.”
GU Pride also shared a Google form on the post for members of the community to provide feedback on how the group can further address issues of race in cooperation with the black community.
“Additionally, we will work on the processes by which we can hold ourselves accountable when macro and microaggressions occur,” the post wrote. “We apologize to all, especially to our Black community members, and we welcome any feedback or comments that anyone may have.
GUPride declined to comment further on the situation, as it wished to hold a board meeting before speaking with press.
The Georgetown Program Board said in a statement to The Hoya that the Mr. Georgetown pageant allows students to present their own talents and that the content of the performances is not indicative of GPB’s views.
“A portion of the Mr. Georgetown pageant involves students performing their talent. What occurs does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of the Georgetown Program Board or any of its members,” the statement reads.
Scott Lowder (COL ’17), who attended Mr. Georgetown, said he felt GUPride’s message on racial issues in the United States. was accurate, but disagreed with the presentation of the issue.
“I think that while the topic is certainly something that needs to be addressed and needs to be talked about, I think the way in which it was done and the tone it was taken might’ve been problematic, and I think that’s where the issue arose,” Lowder said.
Lowder said while the message was not delivered in a considerate manner, one should still assume that Miller performed the poem with good intentions.
“We should definitely recognize that there might’ve been a misdelivery of the message, we shouldn’t decide any bad intentions or maligned intentions to the messenger themselves,” Lowder said.
Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communications Stacey Kerr was not available for comment as of press time.