The USChangeMovement, the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs and Undergraduate Student Government came together to host an event on Tuesday titled “Think Tank: 21st Century Activism.” The students convened in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center ballroom to discuss the intersectionality of race, gender and class within various societal issues.
Shana Redmond, a assistant professor of American studies and ethnicity, delivered the keynote address at the event. In her speech, Redmond emphasized the importance of forming coalitions within social movements in order to effect change in the face of injustice.
“So many of us become stalled because we have no idea how to best be that change we want to see in the world,” Redmond said. “Prepare and fight for a world that does not yet exist. It’s yours to make, it’s ours to make — so pick up the pieces of the past and move it forward. Change and make what doesn’t yet exist.”
Following the keynote speech, the audience was split into four groups to address issues in stereotypes, policy, wellness and dating, as well as suggestions to start resolving these problems in the local community. Topics that were brought up included housing bubbles, food injustice, hookup culture and problematic depictions of people of color in media.
Many students in attendance said the event raised their awareness to sensitive issues to which college students can relate.
“I think the most interesting thing I learned was the media portrayal of minorities relationship-wise, including hookup culture and how it relates to The Row,” said Briana Savage, a sophomore majoring in international relations. “We need to create a space with a positive dynamic that challenges norms and changes minds, otherwise these stereotypes are perpetuated.”
Reyna Harvey-Bell, a senior majoring in political science, said she felt her ideas did not fall on deaf ears.
“Tonight’s event was more than just eye-opening; it sparked a deeper interest in me to find out about what I can do to incite change in my area and any community I can encounter,” Harvey-Bell said.
Others were excited to meet students with similar interests to their own.
“My main takeaway is that there are people who want to change the cultural expectation of ignorance and privilege on this campus, and that there are events like this to bring us together,” said Andy Su, a junior majoring in astronautical engineering.
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