“…So what are we going to do as a people, so that we might be able to navigate and survive these modern day assaults…The truth is we must be more vigilant than we are valuable. Then its another thing to be smart.”
The words from a fiery message by the Rev. Ike Byrd of the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Monroe, was given Monday, Sept. 14.
Byrd was the keynote speaker at the “Born Suspect” forum featuring students from both Grambling State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe or ULM.
Students from both universities gathered together to discuss social issues that plagued the African American community and society as a whole. Issues like violence, poverty, mentorship, and leadership to name a few, were discussed and answers to these issues were brought to light.
During the gathering art was displayed from student artists as well as a performance by a member of lyrical quest.
Lyece Ramsey who is the president of the NAACP chapter at Grambling, also discussed some changes he thought would be beneficial.
He said, “We need to build programs and mentorships that will take in the freshmen and build an environment where they can be themselves without judgment from the ‘cool kids’…they continue to act as someone they aren’t realistically.”
Bria Mays of Jonesville is a ULM student, and biology/pre med major who is also the NAACP vice president of the ULM chapter.
She discussed the importance of Grambling and ULM standing together as one. “…within the NAACP, we can reach out and educate the youth and college on the importance of issues such as respect, education, and rights, so that we can try to prevent another one of our African American men/women from becoming another statistic.”
Shakeitra Evans, a social work major from Homer, shared her view about issues in the African American community, she said, “…a lot of college students have been sheltered in the homes causing them to only know what they see…the lack of exposure can stifle how a person develop in society.”
With meetings and forums as such this one, the African American community and the NAACP’s stand can refine our print not only within our community, but the our finger print in the world.