On Feb. 27, The Society of Distinguished Black Women held an open discussion on many issues within the Black community, featuring a panel from the Political Science Association.
The program was called “Remembering the Past, Thinking of the Future.” The discussion panel included political science majors Brooke Battiste, Timothy Hernandez, Kishera Reddick, Dewayne Hebert.
The members of the audience were each given a list of topics for discussion, and asked to bring forth the topics most significant to them. The panel would then elaborate on details and facts pertaining to the topic along with their personal beliefs on the matter.
After each topic was discussed, the audience was urged to come forth with questions or comments.
The atmosphere started out very quiet and still but soon gave way to a spirited discussion. The first topic brought forward for discussion was the incarceration rates of Black males. The panel introduced statistics on African-American imprisonment, and why it’s so significant in the community.
“There are more African-Americans in jail now than there were enslaved in 1850,” said panel member Hernandez.
The panel provided information on the life of inmates after release from prison. In some states, a person who has previously spent time in prison can be denied certain benefits, like food stamps.
A member from the audience contributed his opinion on the topic. “The system is not created to keep you down, but it is there if you choose to walk into that system,” said senior management major Stavinola Bradley.
The members of the panel stressed the importance of motivating the youth of this generation. Education is essential in order to cause a decline in incarceration rates.
The next topic introduced to the panel was the deterioration of the Black family. In today’s society it is common to see single African-American women raise their children. The panel related this issue to the days of slavery where families were often split up and sold to different owners.
The next topic addressed was the mentality of the modern African-American woman as “someone who didn’t need a man to help them,” which is almost becoming a hinderance to the community. While a two-parent home isn’t completely necessary for the growth of a healthy child, the deterioration of the family unit causes more struggle in the Black community.
At the conclusion of the panel, audience members enthusiastically gave their final comments to the discussion, leaving all attendants with ideas to ponder. The panel and the mediators urged students to spread awareness to their colleagues so the discussion could continue campuswide.