Sunday, July 24, 2016

“Black and Blue Lives Matter” panel brings students and law enforcement officials together

A discussion centered on unity and understanding took place at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) on July 13 at Charles Winter Wood Theatre.

The conversation entitled, “Healing Voices: Black and Blue Lives Matter,” included a variety of professional panelists such as law enforcement officials and University professors. The forum, which was open to all members of the campus and local communities, provided an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and weigh in on the discussion.

President Elmira Mangum believes hosting the forum on campus provided an opportunity to discuss events taking place across the nation and review possible resolutions, including those already suggested during previous programs.

“If we are ever going to bring about change in the relationship that we have with our law enforcement officers and the black community, we must begin with a conversation” Mangum said.

Panelists for the conversation included Darryl Scriven, an associate professor in the Department of Visual Arts, Humanities and Theatre at FAMU, Kristen Bowen, an instructor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at FAMU, Maj. Lonnie Scott and Capt. Rod Young of the Tallahassee Police Department, Capt. Bruce Gaines of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Norman Rollins of the FAMU Police Department and Marquise McMiller, a graduate student in the master of applied social science program at FAMU and a member of the Florida National Guard.

While addressing a question during the conversation, McMiller stressed the importance of citizens staying focused on their respective individual cause as opposed to what other people are saying.

“We should be more concerned about what’s happening and what’s being done out there and not on the terminology,” McMiller said. “I believe in showing my advocacy through action. I get out and show my actions by getting up every day and teaching black students to be preventative and to take proactive measures when addressing some of these issues. I want to work on preventative issues before lives are lost,” he added.

Yolonda Bogan, associate dean and professor of psychology in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (CSSAH) served as moderator for the conversation which was facilitated and co-sponsored by CSSAH, and the Division of Student Affairs.

“We want to provide a forum for encouraging each other by reviewing and implementing constructive responses,” Bogan said.

The program was the second in a series of recent panels at FAMU regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement. However, Bogan said she was particularly enthused about the Black and Blue lives Matter Conversation because of its potential to make a positive impact among students, faculty, staff and residents of the Tallahassee area.

“We’re excited about this because it is a collaborative effort,” Bogan said. “We want to look at positive recommendations and further examine those that have already been put forth,” she added.

Scott, who grew up in the Liberty City area of Miami, said he constantly reminds his officers of the importance of doing the right thing. He also spoke of the importance of concerned citizens with good character and integrity considering potential careers in law enforcement.

“I want to be part of the solution. It’s about having some character and having some pride and we encourage it. I encourage each of you who want to make a difference to join the profession, be there to make a difference,” he said.

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