With racial tensions high again, Fullerton College students and faculty hosted the African-American Forum on Thursday, February 18th in order to open dialogue about the Black Lives Matter movement.
The energy in the room was high as the audience awaited forum organizer and speaker, Brandi Avila.
Avila gave a presentation about looking beyond stereotypes, accounting for our actions in society and addressed concerns encompassing the movement including the backlash of All Lives Matter.
“Every 28 hours a black person is killed in the United States of America…let that sink in,” Avila said, specialist and one of the newest staff members in the Transfer Center at Fullerton College.
Avila addressed her concerns with Stacey Dash and her comments about BET and Black History Month needing to be eradicated.
She stressed the importance of awareness of the Black History in America and emphasized the need to participate in what you believe.
At the conclusion of Avila’s presentation attendees already sitting encircled in groups were encouraged to answer provided questions. One example was what can be done about police brutality?
Those involved were deeply engaged in the conversations.
The room was filled with chatter which definitely helped Avila’s agenda to propel dialogue on campus and to get individuals to “critically think” about this topic.
Fullerton College Ethnic Studies professor, Dawn Cook, facilitated one of the groups which came to the conclusion that most of the brutality comes from officers that have a violent background.
Given that a majority of the officers come from the military when discharged they still have a “kill everything” mentality.
Shakeyla Mitchell, president of the Black Student Union at Cal State University Fullerton, rounded out the group with Mitchell getting up to speak when the forum was opened for attendees to speak about what they have learned from the event.
Mitchell illustrated the stereotypes pushed by media propaganda and how people absorb characters on screen referencing “a black man raised in the hood by a single mom has to sell drugs to get out.”
“Blackness is so much more complex than that and we are not representative of those ways,” Mitchell said.
Another attendee, Anjelina Booth, explained diversity is starting to make its way onto the screen.
“It’s a good start,” Booth said. “We need to be more involved and take action.”
The attendants agreed taking action and opening dialogue in the surrounding communities is the key to move forward.
Students and faculty continued discussions after the forum.
Many recounted their experiences with police and community relations.
This is only the beginning, according to Avila, as she has an agenda to get the student body of Fullerton College to rethink race relations and the Black Lives Matter campaign.