Races issues addressed at forum


Chynna Miller

Jarvis Burks, a senior communications studies major and the President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, shows a video on discrimination against minority women Monday at the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. discussion Forum in the Lumpkin Hall Auditorium.

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Photos of black men including Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown faded in and out of the screen in remembrance  of those victims to similar gun violence.

Kappa Alpha Psi hosted a forum, “Be Free,” Monday that included a slideshow that was a dedication to the many black men slain because of police brutality, one of the many topics discussed at the forum.

The forum is part of the Kappa’s Kappa Kares Week.

Kahmal Patterson, a senior accounting major, said he tries to make forums that audience members can learn from.

He said black issues should be important to other black people, which is why as an organization, they try and give back to the community.

“It seems like when people identify a black death, they identify a black male,” Patterson said.

Throughout the forum, many videos were shown of blacks being attacked, shot at or dying at the hands of a police officer.

With the videos came questions in regards to police brutality and how blacks feel about their presence in America. The audience then begged the question: how are black women treated compared to their male counterparts?

Following the question, a video was shown of a black woman being pulled over by a police officer.

Despite following the rules of a traffic stop, but refused to roll her window all the way down.

The officer was upset because it was only rolled halfway down, and she refused to roll the rest of the way. The officer got upset and busted the window, opened the door and pulled the woman to the ground to arrest her.

Many audience members said they feel blacks should police themselves. One woman in the audience said no other race cares about the African-American community, which was a sentiment most of the members collectively shared.

Another video shown during the forum was of the officer in South Carolina asking an African-American man to stop his car because of a seatbelt violation. The officer asked the man to retrieve his license.

The man did comply, but was then shot at several times by the officer.

The man was struck in the hip and the officer was fired with a possible 20-year prison sentence if convicted.

Being seen as an angry black person were among the hardships mentioned.

“The ones you call thugs are the ones you created,” Kali Lindo, a sophomore pre-medicine major, said.

Mikala Barburam, a sophomore psychology major, said she did not understand why caucasians are so frightened of blacks and what makes them seem so threatening.

Some expressed doubt in President Barack Obama. They said he has not done enough with helping the black community because of his fear of being the only one coming to the aid of blacks because of a shared heritage.

One girl said there are some blacks that seem to bring one another down, which would make it difficult for blacks to come together on certain issues.

“We’re always throwing each other under the bus,” Unique Henley, a sophomore biological science major, said.

Jarvis Burks, the president of the national pan-hellenic council, said blacks first needs to understand where they come from so they know where they’re headed.

Burks also said blacks have a right to be angry with their white counterparts, but they should not let these issues cripple them so they can rise above such challenges.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]