#BlackLivesMatter creators come to Xavier

By: Micah Price ~Staff Writer~

Photos courtesy of politico.com and blacklivesmatter.com | Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi started the #BlackLivesMatter social media movement in 2013 in response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen.

After a short opening prayer, members of the Xavier Black Student Association (BSA) executive board met Monday to discuss plans for the next four months. The club has an ambitious semester ahead, with several events targeting the larger campus community and initiating conversations about race relations. One of these events will feature the creators of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, two of the movement’s initial creators who started a social activist group along with Opal Tometi, will be present at the event. Garza and Cullors will each speak for about 25 minutes and then take questions from the audience, which will be composed of only Xavier students, faculty, staff and guests from the community invited by the planning committee.

The event, which will take place on Feb. 1, will likely focus on the origins of the movement as early as the Trayvon Martin case in 2012, how their cause has progressed and its future goals.

BSA Treasurer, senior Kayswanna McCoy, said she believes the event will increase social awareness among Xavier students.

“I think this is really going to bring awareness to the Xavier campus,” McCoy said. “We’re hoping (students) come and learn and want to get involved.”

While talking about how she believes the topic of race has been addressed since she arrived on campus nearly four years ago, McCoy compared the social climate at Xavier to a bubble of comfort.

“Students can’t see past it,” McCoy said. “I feel like there’s a lack of conversation happening.”

McCoy said a more honest conversation is the way to rectify the issues she sees and that Xavier needs to live up to its Jesuit values.

“(We need an) open approach when talking about race, open approach when we’re talking about social justice, especially when relating to African Americans,” McCoy said. “We need to step up our game.”

The official Orgsync page for the event, where students who wish to attend should RSVP, cites the limited capacity of the Cintas Center banquet rooms as cause for the event being advertised as private.

In addition, there are two events tentatively scheduled for the week following the lecture, including a town hall style meeting on Feb. 2 and a vigil on Feb. 8. The Newswire will report on those events in coming weeks.