Expanding on different experiences
By Sergio Perez (TheLorian)
Student Life, the Black Student Union, and Center for Inclusion & Advocacy opened their Black Lives Matter exhibit this past week. All three groups organized this past summer to provide an education experience for the Loras community.
Walking through the exhibit you see focused attention to the different experiences and community leaders within the Black community. At the start of the exhibit you are welcomed to a table centering Black women and their successes throughout the U.S. This is important to understand why we need to see Black women, and really Black people in general, in a positive light as it disrupts the negative unconscious bias all of us are socialized into believing. The exhibit does the same for Black men in telling a more complete story of Black excellence.
We also see moments of challenge and reflection when stopping at the tables addressing mass incarceration, health inequities, and learning more about the Queer and Trans Black experience. In all of these tables we see a continued failure in addressing the harmful gaps first started and now sustained through systematic racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. After visiting each of these tables one quickly can begin to see why the Black community demands that, “Black Lives Matter.”
While the exhibit is down now, it’s important to understand the demand for Black lives to matter does not go away.
“Having a Black lives matter exhibit shows that the campus stands with the Black community. It creates a space that allows for individuals to see the beauty within the Black community but also some of the dark underlying truths about how Black people are treated in America,” said junior Samantha Watts, the Loras Black Student Union President.
The challenge here is how will we continue the learning Loras has jump started with this exhibit on our own. How will you continue learning about the violent truths this country attempts to hide or ignore? Racism has not gone away, anti-Blackness has not lost its footing in our education, healthcare, economic, and social well-being. We have an obligation to learn about our country’s past and understand how it has led us to this very point, but we must go further. We must dismantle racism, anti-Blackness, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, and that begins with education.
I hope you join me in praying and hoping for a day when the purpose a BLM exhibit on campus in the future serves as a teaching tool referencing a historical movement for human rights versus it being a current movement demanding Black America be treated as humans with full rights and privileges.