Jared Leingang, Reporter
Open minds and the will to learn about a history that’s often misconstrued was the mindset required at the Liberating Minds event hosted by the Black Student Union on Feb. 28.
The event was held in the Connection Cafe in the College Center and consisted of a panel made up of BSU members.
Robert Britton, a custodian at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, spoke first about untold stories of black people in America. He cited the recent movie Hidden Figures and other sources as examples.
“There are so many stories underneath the fabric of American history that it’s really our story,” Britton said. “And that story hasn’t been told, and it hasn’t been told to the masses. There are pockets of our society that don’t really know our history because we have written books that don’t get into the classroom.”
Britton went on to reference the book To Be Popular or Smart: The Black Peer Group written by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu. The book outlines how black students commonly use jokes instead of their intellectual ability to get noticed in class.
Britton went on to talk about how the black youth should put themselves out there and try to be excellent in everything they do.
“No matter where you sit, no matter where you are, you can make a contribution to the organization you’re a part of,” Britton said. “But the question really becomes, how will you write the legacy that will become the the things that you’re known for. You have to write legacies everyday, you have to write history everyday and you control that narrative.”
The event also talked about the history of the Black Panther Party and the Black Lives Matter movements and how some facts have been left out regarding those movements.
The panelists discussed BLM and how the fact that it was created by three lesbian women is often left out of dialogue around the movement.
Victoria Miles, president of the BSU, talked about the BPP and the misconceptions around them such as how the party wasn’t pro-violence.
“They weren’t for violence because they utilized the rights of the Second Amendment,” Miles said. “They did believe in self-defense against violence perpetuated against them in their own community.”
Miles outlined the goal of the BPP and how the party contributed to various programs that are still utilized today like the Free Breakfast for Children Program started by the party that’s used today in many schools.
Other topics talked about were community activism and other activists that may not be as well known like Angela Davis.
Student Bud Metzger, one of the people who attended the event, talked about the past and current injustices and barriers facing colored people in society and other topics.
“If they rob you of your ability to dream, how can you move forward?” Metzger said. “We need to empower people to dream.”
Student Joey Adams, who also attended the event, appreciated the opportunity to talk about the issues.
“Something like this here in Puyallup is huge,” Adams said. “There’s too much misinformation out there and this is an opportunity for people to sit down and feel like they are getting the correct information.”
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