#BlackLivesMatter Forum Seeks To Spark Campus Discussion on Race

The Black Caucus, the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC), and the African American Studies Department will host a forum tonight at 7 p.m. in the HUB auditorium after the series of die-in demonstrations hosted by student activists last week. Titled “#BlackLivesMatter: Who Cares!,” the forum seeks to spark deliberative campus discussions about race issues in the United States.

“The purpose of the discussion tomorrow is to bring the opinions and perspectives of all students and community members into a safe place. We hope for this forum to be a catalyst of conversation,” Black Caucus President Jada Hill said. “We want these conversations to leave the room once the forum ends and continue on.  Everyone may not have the same opinion, but growth comes from healthy discourse and discussion.”

The first die-in was held last Monday to protest the decision in Ferguson, and there was a storm of negative feedback on social media sites, prompting a call for civility from university administration. More demonstrations were held throughout the remainder of the week, including one in front of Old Main aimed partly at the hateful social media postings.

“It may not be important to some individuals but to be a functioning community, it’s important to understand why protesting is important to some of your peers and why it isn’t for others,” Hill said.

Carlos Wiley, director of the PRCC, said even though the issues in Ferguson and New York seem detached from the Penn State community, students still need to pay attention. “The issue of police violence is real for many of the students of color who attend Penn State when they go back to their home towns.”

Both Wiley and Hill are proud of the work of student activists over the past week, and hope to see it continue. “The student activism that we have seen this week has shown that although we are young, we are strong in our stance and powerful in our movement,” Hill said. “We want to see change, so we will do everything we can in order to see that vision come to life.”

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Melissa McCleery

Melissa is a senior majoring in Women’s Studies, Political Science, and Spanish. In the little free time she has, Melissa likes to cook, spend all her money at The Phyrst, and add to her collection of blue and white striped clothing. She can be reached via Twitter (@mkmccleery) or email ([email protected]).

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