CORVALLIS, Ore. — Nearly two years after the murder of George Floyd and promises made across the nation to combat racism, Black faculty and staff at Oregon State University are holding a panel to discuss what has happened in the intervening time and what that means for the country.

“It’s 2022. Do Black Lives Really Matter?” will be held on Zoom and with a limited in-person audience from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28.

“I think Black folks have always been under a microscope, always had to deal with this issue of racism,” said event organizer Dwaine Plaza, one of the panelists and a sociology professor at OSU. “We understand that; we’re carrying that burden. What we’d like to know now is that white folks can take more responsibility for the structural and institutional changes that need to happen because they actually control those.”

The event is co-presented by the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Public Policy at OSU.

The discussion will start with a broad overview of the history of the Black Lives Matter movement and what it has become today, delivered by panelist Terrance Harris, director of the Lonnie B. Harris center.

Plaza will follow with an overview of white supremacy, how the ideology has permeated the U.S. since slavery and how it continues to fuel beliefs that Black people are inferior to whites.

Next, political science professor Chris Stout will discuss the structural and institutional manifestations of white supremacy, including voter suppression, the fight over which lessons may be included in K-12 history classes, Congress’s failure to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and the pushback to President Biden’s pledge to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court.

The discussion will then focus on more local matters with panelist Chanale Propst, the coordinator of Black & African-American Student Mental Health & Wellness at OSU. As a counselor, she will discuss the psychological impact of racism on Black students, faculty and staff at the university.

Finally, Niki Braxton-Franklin, a specialist in alcohol and drug prevention in OSU’s Student Health Services, will speak as a mother on what it’s like to parent Black children in the U.S. She will offer strategies for parents, as well as suggestions for how non-Black community members can be more empathetic to what Black people face in day-to-day life in Oregon.

The panel will then take questions from the audience, with Q&A moderated by Marilyn Stewart, associate head advisor in the College of Liberal Arts.

“After George Floyd’s murder, a lot of people promised a lot of things to African American people about structural changes and institutional changes at the national level, state level, Oregon State University level and so forth,” Plaza said. “We want to essentially look at how various measures of change have actually taken place, and how far we still have to go.”

For in-person registration, which is limited to 30 people to ensure social distancing, visit blm2022.eventbrite.com. To register to attend via Zoom, visit beav.es/wx7.

For accommodations for disabilities or to receive this information in a different format, please contact [email protected], preferably at least one week prior to event. For information about COVID-19 safety precautions and requirements for attending on-campus events, click here.

College of Liberal Arts

About the OSU College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts encompasses seven distinct schools, as well as several interdisciplinary initiatives, that focus on humanities, social sciences, and fine and performing arts. Curriculum developed by the college’s nationally and internationally-renowned faculty prepares students to approach the complex problems of the world ethically and thoughtfully, contributing to a student's academic foundation and helping to build real-world skills for a 21st century career and a purposeful life.

Story By: 

Molly Rosbach, [email protected]

Source: 

Dwaine Plaza, [email protected]

Multimedia: 

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.