Jafar Muhammad (Staff Writer)
Zaakirah Mujid (News Editor)
An MLK breakfast and racism dialog called MLK Day of Education – Everyone Has A Story to Tell, was hosted at BenU on Monday.
The breakfast hosted students who are a part of the ACT-SO program in DuPage. It was started as a program to help give black students recognition is academic fields rather than just sports. Students who participate get to work alongside people in fields they are interested in; people get paired with scientists in labs for example, according to Dorletta Flucas Payton-(Chairperson) and Chioma George (Recruitment Director).
Later in the day, a select panel of five students, as well as a BenU professor, shared their personal stories regarding their experience with race. Two of their stories are transcribed below.
“I am an African American woman and at one point I was the Area Director in housing at Tulane University. One day a returning student was moving into campus and Mom and Dad were assisting their young white male. When the parents realized their son’s roommate was a black guy, they went to the RA and said ‘we need to talk to your boss’. After they were sent to me, they had asked for my boss instead. I walked away to make the telephone call and heard them say ‘that N can’t be in charge’. I pulled myself together and called my mentor, who is a white male. With all of us in the room, my mentor explained to the parents ‘if you’re not comfortable with your son living with a black roommate, you can move your son out and I will process your release of contract right now.” -Dr. Alicia Battle (Assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at BenU)
“Growing up I was mainly surrounded by people of my culture. For 14 years I never saw myself as a minority. It wasn’t until high school, where it was predominately white. I would be asked to say something in Spanish, and people joked with me asking if I was illegal. Nobody really wanted to learn about my culture unless a club was hosting a program and they just they wanted free food. I heard that some football players were calling Mexicans ‘dirty’. That comment stuck with me, that people in the US enjoy our food, tequila, holiday, music, fashion trends, but don’t feel the same when it comes to appreciating people who brought it.” -Anna Silva (Student, head of Res Life)
Sophia Mattimiro (Scene Editor) contributed to this article.