Once he entered the room, there was a roar of applause. He took the podium and introduced himself as Jeff Johnson.Then he brought up the panel of our fellow classmates that were going to be speaking that night and began the spirited debate about all things political.
Now this was not the first time I had seen him, but I must admit that his speaking is much more captivating in person. I had seen “Cousin” Jeff on the popular mini-series Hip-Hop vs. America and thought that he was very insightful but not much more.
I also thought that he always had this pensive look on his face, like he was in deep thought about what a certain person on the panel had to say. I found that the look is truly genuine when it comes to issues that pertain to the Black community.
The first question that he asked the panel was why they were voting for and believed in their respective candidates.
All of the participants gave valid answers but none of them topped Quantreus Hayes. The registered Republican gave his views on why he thought John McCain should be elected president, and let’s just say that there were those who did not see things his way.
His main point of voting for McCain was his stance on abortion. For the record, McCain’s stance on abortion is that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned and that the doctors who perform abortions should be prosecuted, not the women who receive them.
Hayes kept bringing this point to the attention of the members of the panel, and seemed extremely passionate about it.
Others on the panel such as Alonzo Blalock, Terry Young and Kwame Cyril felt that Obama’s position on education was a reason to vote him into the White House.
Blalock’s point was that Obama’s education plan of guaranteeing education up until 5 years old, improving funding for Head Start programs, and reforming the “No Child Left Behind” Act, which he felt were all viable reasons to vote for him.
SGA Vice President Steven Jackson also chimed in that he was voting for Obama.
After about 20 minutes, students in the audience were allowed to ask questions of the panel or Johnson if they so chose.
Students began to ask questions about panelist opinion of the election, the economy and campus issue.
One student decided that this panel discussion was the perfect time to ask the SGA and even called out SGA President Chris Harmon about why the auditorium in the Nursing Building was not filled with students.
Harmon pointed out the fact that there were flyers handed out and posted, and the SGA took the time to even knock on people’s doors to inform them of the panel.
Another student asked Johnson why was it that the older generation talked down to the younger generation and what would be some tips to follow.
Johnson answered that he was not talking down, he was simply pointing out some of the flaws that were present within it.
After that, he outlined steps that students could take, such as being more vocal on the campus, using the SGA to voice the student opinions and making sure that the SGA officials stay on top of their jobs.
All in all, the discussion was one that needed to happen. But what was crazy was that there were people from Louisiana Tech University in the crowd, filling seats that Grambling State students should have been in.
The discussion itself gave students a lot to think about as far as changing the campus and the world that they are soon to take over.
Hopefully, the next time an important figure in the Black community comes to talk about things that could be changed in the community, students should be there to take notes.