Equality, Representation, and the State of Black Rowan

Rowan students and associates attend the Black Student Union on Nov. 6, 2019 - Former Multimedia Editor / Dyone Payne

Lights. Camera. Blackness in action! This is not a drill, but an emergency that must be addressed. This past Monday the Black Student Union held their first State of Black Rowan forum to talk about issues that have risen between the divide of Rowan culture and Black Rowan Culture.

Topics discussed included equality, representation and inclusivity among students on campus. Professors, deans, staff and students had the opportunity to sit back and listen to the views and opinions of others. 

Representation of minority students is not fairly represented which is why “Black Rowan” was created. Within the culture, students are able to be their true authentic self without having to put on a mask in certain spaces within the campus. 

The Black Student Union is an education-based community building system for Black students at Rowan University. Through collaborative and unified efforts, the group aims to create an intersectional, supportive and sustainable voice for the Black student body at Rowan University.

The Advisor, Dr. JT Mills, is the Assistant Director of Multicultural and Inclusion programs within the Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution office. He is also the advisor for the Black Student Union.

“I have been assisting students in bringing together, hopefully a conglomerate of student organizations, student leaders and a coalition of black students to talk about Black and brown issues,” he said. 

Mills hopes that not only black students, but all students can come together and focus on tackling these issues amongst campus. By eliminating the line between two cultures, the voice of minority students will and must be heard. 

Early Childhood Education major, Leah Quick is a 22-year-old fifth-year senior who had attended this forum in hopes to have change reassured throughout campus. Quick has been a part of Black Rowan by participating in the Dr. Harley E. Flack Mentoring program since she came in as a freshman. 

“I like that the program not only talked about issues, but talked about solutions as well,” she said. “At one point I said that I’m looking for Black Rowan to step up and take the initiative to take part in leadership opportunities. At the end of the day it’s just good to know that we’re all on the same page, so I’ll definitely be checking for these faces at other events.”  

Although there is work to be done, the forum was an overall success. This is not a step back, but a step forward to see transformation within the Rowan community. Change is on the way for better representation of black and brown voices to be heard. In the end we are all one student body and should be represented as such.

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