Speaking out: BLACC to host youth activism event

Kaitlin Musante

The Black Leadership Awareness and Culture Club aims to spark forward-thinking discussions on the current political climate and encourage students to take action at a conference Jan 15.

The conference aims to provide a forum for attendees to discuss how the shift in national politics affects students and to consider ways to take action.

BLACC club leader Taylor Redmond ’18 said that she has noticed a growth in racial prejudice following the election of President Donald Trump, increasing the need for youth activism and discussion amongst students.

“I’ve always known people were racist and rude, but I think that now that our president is open about how he feels about African-Americans and other minority groups, it makes people feel as though coming out of the closet about their racism is totally okay now and there will be no consequences,” Redmond said. “So, I think talking about this stuff is extremely helpful because it creates a sense of togetherness that makes everything a little bit better.”

During the conference, the four panelists, author Bakari Kitwana, motivational speaker Yusef Salaam, rapper and activist Jasiri X and UCLA professor and author Gaye Theresa Johnson, will examine activist successes not extensively covered by the national media and how celebrities can use their power to drive and distract from social justice efforts.

BLACC club leader Taylor Jones ’18 said that she is excited to listen to both the panelists’ and her fellow students’ perspectives.

“I am excited to hear what the differences are between the speakers’ and the students’ experiences because we can have a window into the world of those who are older and a window into the world of those who are younger,” Jones said.

Students said they are grateful for the opportunity to speak out against social injustices.

“I love events like this because I think that kids oftentimes think that their voices don’t matter, whatever we do won’t make a difference and what’s happening to us isn’t happening anywhere else,” Redmond said. “However, when you bring very influential people to speak on issues that they have that you also have, especially when they look like you, it brings a little bit of peace knowing you aren’t alone.”