In light of recent events like the shooting death of an unarmed Trayvon Martin and a questionable traffic stop leading to the arrest of Naperville’s Sandra Bland, the Twitter hashtag “BlackLivesMatter” turned into a nationwide movement for those affected by social injustice and discrimination.
One of the founders, Patrisse Cullors, came to North Central’s campus to share her vision with students and Naperville’s community.
“I think we’re in a moment in history where we’re seeing students taking up the banner, the human rights banner, the civil rights banner, and I would just say that the time is now. This is a historical moment and we all should be showing up for this current movement,” said Cullors.
With a 20-year history, North Central’s Black Student Association is working to answer the call to action.
“I feel like everyone lives in their own little bubble at North Central and BSA wants to kind of burst that bubble. We want to make people feel uncomfortable and make people have that conversation and that dialogue, rather than just keeping to themselves and ignoring the issues. So, our mission is to kind of push that issue and encourage people to talk about racism and discrimination on campus as well,” said Shekia Baker, President of North Central College’s Black Student Association.
In November, North Central’s BSA marched in solidarity after a series of protests over the racial climate at the University of Missouri campus.
“I think it’s important for us to have this kind of conversation. Even though we’re a smaller campus, we only have about 3,000 students, I think it’s important to be an ally to this movement, to not allow things that have happened at bigger institutions like Mizzou happen here. And putting our foot down and saying no, we won’t have this at our campus”, said North Central College Senior Kathryn Bloch.
And DuPage County NAACP President Veretta Yancey would argue that inclusiveness isn’t just for students, it’s for the entire community.
“It’s extremely important that we include everyone in this call to action. It’s not just for African-Americans. Yes, we do believe that all lives matter, however when you look at the number of African-Americans in this community, our numbers are small. And that means that some of our interests get missed. If we’re not at the table, if we don’t have friends at the table, we can’t influence decisions that are made on our behalf. We all need to work together for a common good,” said Yancey.
A sentiment that echoes what Patrisse stands for: educating and inspiring others to stand together to create a world where the lives of all individuals are recognized equally.
To contact a local chapter or find resources and actions, you can visit BlackLivesMatter.com.
Naperville News 17’s Rachel Pierson reports.
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