Michael Sam at Bryant

A couple weeks ago, I coordinated a very special event for the Student Arts and Speakers Series committee under the Student Programming Board (say that five times fast…). We had Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, speak to the Bryant community about his experiences.

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My co-chair, Amreen (pictured above), and I got to spend extra time with Michael before the event. I was surprised by how kind and down-to-earth he was. Through the SASS committee, I have met a fair share of relatively well-known people and have come to expect a certain air of celebrity about the guests. Which is not a bad thing, but they know their status and are very confident with it. Michael seemed like a regular guy who has done extraordinary things. He asked me about my home and my plans for after school. We gushed over our dogs and laughed about our mutual love for Joe Biden. Getting to know Michael on a personal level brought so much more appreciation for his story.

My favorite part about bringing wonderful people to campus is the realization that everyone has their own story and struggle with their own battles. Michael is such a happy-go-lucky person, but he shared during his speech that he has dealt with an abundance of tragedy and abuse in his life. He came out on top and has risen above all the hardships in his life. In the short time we had together, I learned a lot from him.

Michael taught the Bryant the Bryant community to live your truth unapologetically. He said there is no shame in who you are. You are not your past your the mistakes you’ve made. He recognized that life will take us all in unexpected places but all we can do is make the best of what is given to us.

Live in love,

Mikayla