Brittney Williams (BA '16, MSW '17), Tyrell Collier (BA '14), Bryon Maxey (BA '09, MA '18), Stephanie Rowley (BA '92), Judge Cynthia Stephens (BA '71), and moderator Austin McCoy (PhD '16) talk about student activism past and present. November, 2016.
>> My name is Robert Sellers. I'm Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer. It is my great pleasure and privilege to be a member of the planning committee for this panel and I think I speak for my other committee members in saying that this is a panel that we were particularly excited to have the opportunity to help pull together. This is an opportunity for us to hear voices, particularly student activist voices across 50 years of this university. As all of us should know if we don't know, much of the progress that this university has made has been the result of voices of student activism, as well as activism in staff and faculty levels as well. And so this is an opportunity for us to examine those experiences both as the efforts have built on to each other, we have an opportunity to share experiences, lessons learned, new strategies, new ways of analyzing the problems that we face today. And I think this panel is most appropriate in the context of our celebration of Reverend Jesse Jackson's 50 years of commitment to civil rights contributions. Reverend Jackson, as you all know is a founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He is one of the foremost Civil Rights religious and political figures. Over the past 50 years he's played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment. From peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. So I think this panel is quite fitting as a representation and celebration of his work. Today our panel is going to be led by our very capable moderator Dr. Austin McCoy. He is one of ours. He is a recent PhD graduate here in history and is a post doctorate -- postdoctoral scholar here as well. Austin is the epitome of an activist scholar. He has made tremendous contributions during his time here at the university to make sure that this is a better place, not only for himself, but for the generations of students that have come afterwards. As we were trying to pull together this presentation, we could not think of a better person to moderate and lead this panel. So without any further ado, I'm going to turn it over to Austin and enjoy our conversation. Thank you, Austin.
[ Applause ]
>> Good afternoon. So I think Rob just framed the panel really well. So like, in interest of time I am basically just going to talk about you know, how the panels going to go, give really brief introductions and then ask a few questions. But first for those of you who may not know by now, Students 4 Justice, which is a independence and POC led student group is planning to walk out today for 3:00 P.M., so hopefully if you're around you could participate. And I want to make sure to acknowledge the three activists that are here who are organizing in that. So if everyone could give around of applause for Lakyrra [Assumed Spelling], Jamie [Assumed spelling] Lorial [Assumed spelling] sitting here in the front. Also, they're trying to go on a trip to D.C. with me so if you all want to go ahead and donate some funds, you know send it over there. But no, like they have like taken the mantel of activism here on campus for this year. And as you'll see on this panel like there's like these successive waves of activist work around racial justice and other issues. So regarding the panel itself, like I'm going to ask a series of a few questions and I will keep track of time and I think we're going to get -- can we go a little over, since the first one went over a little bit? Or are we really pressed. We can go a little bit over? A little bit over, whatever we define that as being. OK, then that will be fine. So like we'll go a little over but I'm going to ask a series of questions, I want us to take you know, maybe 20, 25 minutes -- we have a big panel, to like have the panelists address the questions but then also give about 20, 25 minutes for Q and A. So like I said, I'm going to give really brief introductions because everyone on this panel is esteemed and all of these bios are very long so I'm going to shorten them up a little bit. So -- and I'm just going to start based upon like the program. So Britney Williams is a first year student here at U of M in a school social work and she graduated from the university this past spring with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. As an undergraduate Williams was a very active member in the Black Student Union, serving on the Political Actions Committee and Sharing the Community Outreach Committee. Next we have Tyrell Collier, he graduated from U of M, May of 2014 with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. As an undergrad Collier was an active member in the black student union, ultimately serving as speaker from 2012 to 2014. He was also a part of the hashtag -- being black at the University of Michigan, which was the Twitter slash -- you know, protest movement that occurred here on campus and that's how I got involved as well. Byron Maxey is a student right now at Rackham, Graduate school and a project coordinator in the Office of Academic Innovation. An avid student of history from young age, Maxey finds some wavering inspiration in the narratives of his family and the deep history of this community where accounts of resilience, pride and triumph serve as successful models for overcoming past and present indignities and injustice. Stephanie Johnson Rowley received a PhD in developmental psychology from University of Virginia in 1997 and joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina that year. In the year 2000, she moved to the University of Michigan's Department of Psychology. In 2008, she had an appointment in the School of Education. Rowley is the psychology department and the school -- let me -- sorry about that -- she's also the Associate Vice President for Research here at the University. Her research -- her portfolio includes research centers and interdisciplinary projects in the humanities and social sciences. She was also a undergrad here from 1988 to 1992, during that time she was heavily involved in the Black Student Union with various positions on the executive board, including a term as speaker. Judge Cynthia Diane Stevens is another panelist and prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals in 2008, she served as a general jurisdiction trial judge for 23 years. She was appointed to the Third Circuit Court in 1985 after service as a 36 District Court Judge. An Emory Law School graduate, Stephens has been admitted to practice in Georgia, Texas, and Michigan. She is a former chair of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, a former member of the Executive Board of the National Bar Association and it's judicial council. She has been honored with many civic and religious organizations including the Inaugural Woodrow Smith Community Service Award from the Shrines of the Black Madonna, the Golden Heritage Award from Little Rock Baptist Church and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the City of Detroit Human Rights Department. She was awarded the State Bar of Michigan's highest honor, the Roberts P. Hudson Award in 2005. So --
>> I really did graduate from this university. [Laughing]
>> Or she wouldn't be on the panel, right? So with all the bios out the way, I'm going to ask the first question and it's pretty basic, you can address it however which way you want, but this is sort of also for folks to understand your roles in the Racial Justice Movement or activism here at University. So can you talk about your involvement in the racial justice movement here? What inspired you to get involved? What type of roles did you play? And like what specific movement did you participate in? And I guess we can start from left to right. So we could start with Brittney, if you don't mind?
>> OK. Is it on? Can you all hear me. OK, so to contextualize before I sort of explain my involvement. I -- even though I graduated this past April, I was 28 when I graduated because I was a non-traditional student who was a returner. So my span of time here was very long. I started in 2005. I had a lot of difficulties because my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease and struggled, ended up leaving the University. I came back in 2015 and finished up. So at very different points I have been able to be involved with racial activism on campus. Initially my sophomore year was when I really got started getting involved with BSU, and at the time Proposition 2, which was seeking to remove affirmative action was on the ballot. And that was really inspired me getting involved with the BSU and the work that they were trying to do around encouraging people to vote no on 2 -- obviously, 10 years later we know that didn't happen, but that was a lot of the work we were doing, so we were organizing rallies, protests, we were reaching out to voters in the area, we were reaching out to students after the measure was able to pass, and we did callouts at the office of undergraduate admissions basically asking students who were considering the university to still come -- students of color, despite the ruling. And just sort of encouraging them to still come here. In retrospect I kind of struggle with giving that advice because of the current -- the campus climate and the continued decline of students of color over the years. But that was a lot of the work that we were doing with the BSU. And then as it sort of ramped up from 2009, 2010 I was on the E-Board as a Community Outreach Chair and so I did a lot of work around getting community members involved because at the time there was a weird kind of discord between the BSU and the NAACP, where people felt like the NAACP was a more acceptable and appropriate organization who were going about trying to make change on campus around race issues in an appropriate way and the BSU was just like out of control and too radical and doing too much and so people didn't really want to be affiliated with us. So as Chair I was really just trying to get us to come together on common ground to do the work regardless of how you felt it should be done. Still there was a lot of backlash with some of the things that we were doing. There was a similar climate at that time to what's going on now. Not nearly as extreme, but there were a lot of racialized issues going on, things being said to people on campus, intimidation that was going on. And so as an active protest, which it was really funny when BBUM went on to blackout the posting wall and use that for people to write their feelings we -- oh a Podcast [Laughing] -- we actually had blacked out the posting wall to exemplify the fact that we were feeling silenced on campus and that received a lot of backlash from folks and made them feel like we were doing something that was absurd, and disrespectful, and we shouldn't have put that over all the things that people from organizations usually post. So there was a lot of pushback on that, but we just continued to do what we did. So we did a lot of flyering, chalking, getting out and getting engaged with the community and I think that in that sort of period between Prop. 2 and up to 2010 was sort of a moving forward to people basically being fed up and having BBUM come into play. Since I've been back here, I consider myself to be more of an infiltrator -- that's the term I like to use. I don't consider myself to be a person at this point who's like super frontlines so I will do something like get onto a student advisory board or sit and talk to professors or get with students who are doing frontlines work and say how can I assist you? Because a lot of the conversations we've had around diversity equity inclusion, racial justice, activism -- one of my major comments is I'm tired. Like it's been so many years and I had a really hard time coming back here and seeing not enough change in my opinion or things getting worse and so at this point with kind of feeling like an old lady on the campus, I feel like my position has -- why are they laughing at me -- I feel like my position has shifted --
>> If you're old, tell you where that leaves us.
>> I feel like I have just shifted from being like very, very super involved like right out there in front of everybody to being in the background saying, how can I help you? And in some ways it was the same with Tyrell my little baby -- my BSU baby. Like how can I help you? How can I be there for you? And I really think that that's the best role for me at this point.
>> So similar to Brittney, my involvement or in the introduction to this work came through my involvement with the BSU. When I got involved with BSU I really wasn't looking to be an activist or looking to do this type of work. I really just wanted to do -- put on programming for our community. Positive programming and things like that. My -- I sort of really got my feet wet in beginning in the summer of 2013 and I think that's really a reference point for a lot of people when you think of like the modern movement for Black Lives is when after Trayvon Martin got shot down in Florida and his killer acquitted in July of 2013. I think that's really -- when I really started to recognize that something needed to be done. I think the country as a whole -- the racial climate in the country as a whole was very tense at that time and that was reflected on campus. That sort of coupled with declining enrollment numbers. There was a report that came out in the fall of 2013 that I believe said, black enrollment here at the university declined from about 4.6 to 4.2 percent, if I can remember correctly -- in the years since affirmative action 2009 to 2012, so a four year period. And that to me really further -- those declining enrollment numbers further marginalizes an already marginalized group as further isolates an already isolated group. And not only that, but it sort of emboldens the majority culture to do things -- to engage in acts of culture appropriation. And so that sort of showed itself with the Fraternity Theta Xi in the fall, having -- or attempting to have a party, which was just covered in culture appropriation and racist rhetoric. So once that happened, of course the campus was in an uproar then. Especially black women because there was a lot of degrading things about not only black people but specifically black women. And of course the Blacks Student Union is traditionally mostly black women. And so, everyone was in an uproar. It was just sort of the last straw, and we came up with the hashtag -- BBUM movement. And of course BBUM as -- BBUM itself isn't something that was created in 2013. That experience has always been here. And so we created the hashtag movement. And it was something that we really -- really didn't know what we were doing because Black Lives Matters was sort of getting started at the same time, so there really wasn't this blueprint for this sort of social media sort of type of activism that we look to. But we created the movement, "Being Black at Michigan" and we asked the community to -- you know, voice your experiences whether that be positive or negative of being black here. What do you go through on a day to day? And it just took the campus by storm -- took the nation by storm. A lot of schools from around the country contacted us and just asking for advice on seeing how they implement things like that on their campus because I do believe that this experience is not just unique to Michigan, right? I think it's a unique black experience at predominantly white institutions across the nation and even across the world -- around the globe. So we -- yes, we did the posting wall again, we blacked out the posting wall. It was just sort of a week of -- of activity that we engaged in to sort of get the campus talking and thinking about what diversity really means here on campus. A few months later we released seven demands to the University on MLK day, right after the MLK Symposium where Harry Belafonte was speaking. Demands included increasing enrollment, affordable housing, new scholarships, race and ethnicity courses, increase funding for black organizations. We sort of spent that entire -- the rest of that year working to get those things implemented or as -- you know working to implement as much as we could before the year ended. That was when I graduated. And of course they continued the work after I left.
>> Hello everyone. Just to clarify I'm also a U of M alumni, the bio didn't quite clarify that. So my affiliations were with the Black Student Union. I was also -- I started at the same time as Brittney 2005 to 2009. And also the NAACP on Campus who can attest to that -- at that time and kind of the mid 2000s that there was this kind of strange kind of divide. But having been in both organizations on campus at that time kind of felt -- in both organizations that there was a role. And I almost feel that that -- the role that the Black Student Union -- and I'm not sure of the activity of the NAACP at this time, but it was one of those necessary kind of -- I don't want to say -- well, no -- necessary tensions. Because I even look at, if you look at some of the great leaders of black activism you look at the NAACP on Campus kind of serving the role that Du Bois had and the Black Student Union to be almost being like Garvey and those are two sides of the same coin that all move toward a similar struggle. So just looking at some of my experiences as an undergraduate, as Brittney attested to the Proposal 2 was the major issue of our day and it really bisected that experience because we -- you know, coming to campus and the references to my kind of family and background -- being kind of politically minded and active was something that I had from my youth. And so coming to campus that actually identified those organizations before I'd even arrived as ones I wanted to be a part of. And knew from one of the first meetings that this was coming. MCRI is what it was called -- Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The biggest kind of false name that you can think of but we knew it was coming. And this is one of those cases where you know you're fighting a fight that has not a good chance of winning but it's still something that's necessary to be fought. And one of the particular actions that stood out most to me in that time was when we did from National take Affirmative Action Day we had this silenced voices where we actually wrapped our mouths and we didn't speak the entire day. We actually got a lot of flack from various directions for doing this because oh well, you're going to not do well in your classes. I'm like, one day? You all skip class all the time, like it's really not that big of deal. [Laughing]. But the point being it did make a message. And it's even more present today because literally if you probably count up the number of people that did that action, I'm sure there's more -- even more not represented today on this campus then there were of us at that time and that's only 10 years ago. And it's -- I'd actually just kind of reviewed some of the numbers since then because I also continued on with this case as a litigant in the Supreme Court case that just passed in a -- unfortunately against our favor in 2014, and I understand that this is a political issue but I'm representing as myself, not the university right now as I'm speaking so I'm biased. And I will gladly say that. But the point being this was a case that had a certain importance in terms of voices being represented in spaces that are shared. And now in the state of Michigan those voices have a whole other bar to have to meet for the voice of black students, of women, of anyone else that has an identity to be represented here and that's just true, unfortunately legally in this state. And these are things that we have to contend with in a different way then someone who is from a geography that's not represented or someone that's from alumni status, whatever have you. And that these are the challenges we faced and we still face today. The other things I want to just quickly just touch on in my experience was also the Jena Six case was another major kind of watershed moment for us. Six young students -- for those that are unfamiliar, six high school students in Jena, Louisiana, they were charged with attempted murder for a school fight where they had been intimidated for weeks and weeks and weeks by other white students for sitting under the quote on quote, "white tree" in this town. They were total between the six of them at a 100 years to their sentence and we as a nation, as a black community, it didn't get a lot of national attention but we organized, we fundraised, and this is where I actually had myself shifted roles. As a frontline person before that had to move into saying -- long story short, fatherhood came -- so I had to move from being a frontline activist to being that kind of role shift to support. How can I get funds to get everybody down there so I can handle responsibility back home? We sent a bus down there, we had people wanting to go, we couldn't fit everybody that wanted to go. But it was a protest and things changed. But these are just examples of some of the things that were happening in my time. I don't want to take up too much of the panel's time but it was a pretty active period and I'm excited to talk more about other things.
>> Interesting that Les Spence [Assumed Spelling] walked in at the moment that I'm starting to speak. So he was one of my close colleagues back in the 80's and 90's. So I was here from '88 to '92. And as Austin pointed out, I was ultimately the speaker of the black student union, but I also was the Chair of the Education Committee and Communications and so heavily involved while I was here. So it was an interesting time that I suspect that we won't see for a really long time, which was -- and I think that we didn't especially appreciate at the time. So '87 was the BAM Two Strikes and a range of different resources for black students on campus came out of the BAM Two strikes including some funding for the Black Student Union to serve as sort of an umbrella organization to cosponsor various programing on campus, including you know, just a range of other resources. There wasn't a particular issue that we were facing. So we weren't Proposal 2, we weren't facing you know the Anti Affirmative Action backlash or the sort of National Political pressures in the same way. We were about seven and a half percent African American students on campus at the time, which we were actually -- you know, pressuring the administration to increase our numbers at the time. You know, who knew that this was going to be you know, nearly twice the number of black students on campus now. There was certainly an air on campus of reasonable cohesiveness and so that was an interesting time to step into the Black Student Union because our work was very differently focused and we actually had to take a step back and say OK --Whoa, you know, we got some of the things that we want, how do we build a further agenda and then also how do we -- how do we become good storers of the resources we've been given? And so a lot of our initial work was around building core facilities and resources so things like educational materials and you know, we had a variety of speakers in town and things like that. So I don't mean that there weren't particular issues that we were agitating around, so certainly we also had a list of demands that we took to the president so there was an incident at the union where there was a black fraternity who had a party and afterwards a group of black students were maced. There was an interesting incident where --- so this is only interesting because of where we are historically now, but we were pushing a TV across campus, one of my black colleagues was pushing -- a black male was pushing a TV across campus and was actually stopped by the police. And so there are a range of things where we felt certainly threatened on campus both physically and in terms of our well-being. So there wasn't the air of external pressure so much, so we were more inwardly focused. And so a lot of the demands that we took to the president at that point was really around increasing the representation of students -- of black students and faculty on campus and then also of increasing pressure around the safety and well-being of black students. But it certainly had a different air than I think some of these other -- some of these other eras. So we can come back to the challenges associated -- and I will say also there was also still that -- the questions around appropriate activism on campus. So as a Black Student Union we were viewed as the more radical group. And we did a lot of -- you know, meeting with -- with the leadership around the university and certainly lots of protesting verses the United Coalition Against Racism, which was a much broader group of students who -- you know, so there was a bit of tension around what the -- what activism should look like on campus and what is appropriate.
>> OK, I was here back in the Pasticine Era. I'll start out with what was interesting. One of the colleagues was talking about the dichotomy between Garvey and Du Bois and I'm a granddaughter of a UNIA member, so that was a constant conversation in my house. But I was here in -- during BAM One. And to contextualize that for those of you who were not born then, clearly. We came here -- I came to the University of Michigan in 1968, right after the red hot summer, long hot summer of '67 where there were 159 uprisings. And I use that word quite intentionally. I don't think that they were riots. They didn't have enough programs to be rebellions, but they were uprisings. And within that context I came to a university where SDS had just been founded where there was a lot of activism. When I came here within weeks we finally gave our -- one of the things you noticed is the name of the organization of students of color keeps changing. And it keeps changing just as many other things do. But as of that point we didn't -- we had all sorts of informal names and we actually had a debate about whether it was going to called the Pro Black Organization or the Black Student Union and that debate was about the issue of people perceiving that to say that we were the Black Student Union meant that we were anti white students. And after a vigorous and interesting debate in which -- it was close to civil -- the overwhelming majority agreed that we would be the Black Student Union. Because there were so few of us and because the nature of the society at that point, when we got around to the point of starting the -- or getting to the BAM strike, I was the Vice President of the Black Student Union and the community outreach person. I was also the Vice President of the sorority and on student government council. And none of that was seen as a contradiction. And in fact every American born -- black person on campus was perceived to be a member of the Black Student Union. It was -- you know, and it wasn't just group think. It was everybody spoke to everybody, you were so happy when you saw a black person. When my mother would call me and ask me how many people were in my class I'd say three. So there was a heavy sense of identity. When we got to the point of the BAM strike, it was a point after a series of conversations and then conversations. And the conversations didn't seem to be going anywhere and there were small protest and then ultimately we discovered amazingly that the black students over in the med school -- all 12 of them -- the black students in the dentist school, he black students in the school social work, the black students in all the various campuses had a similar set of issues and so we had to form a coalition amongst all of those groups. And it was in very real sense a coalition. The majority of us were undergraduates. But the persons in the law school and the med school, etcetera, who did have a higher level of experience, did not deal with us in a paternalistic way. It was in fact a coalition. And they offered what they could offer. For example, when we finally got to -- we were writing the demands, Dave Lewis [Assumed Spelling] who was in law school said, "Well, let's look at the founding documents of the university, which gave a tuition waver to all Native American students because, of course, the land was stolen from them and it was part of a treaty. And so he suggested that we put a tuition waver program inside the original BAM demands. So people were offering what they had. The faculty were offering their ideas. We had a serious inside man with Dr. Moody [Assumed Spelling] who offered us a protection, secret information, and an occasional scolding. The BAM strike came about after finally we got -- when the provost at that point, I believe it was Dr. Allan Smith told us the university would never -- and the regents would never negotiate. Well the one thing about young people is if you tell them no long enough and you tell them in public -- it kind of galvanizes people. And that galvanized us to form a formal organization and we began a strike that was allegedly -- that was more successful than not. I will put it that way. And it was not successful because solely of the black students, but the black students were the nucleus and the leadership. We had a coalition of other organizations including the Student Government Council who supported us even with funds, but they were supportive because it was our fight and they thought that was the appropriate role in the coalition. It was an interesting time again because the general nature and tenor of the country was one in which there was a great deal of activism. And we were fortunate that despite the extreme conservative nature of the Mid West that we did have at least a president who thought that the local police didn't belong on campus. Because if we had been Eastern just up the road, we would have seen Doug Harvey and they had a lot more violence and problems there and in fact, one of the people that came in to visit the people at Eastern was the Reverend Jesse Jackson. We had support here from our local politicians, from very importantly the Labor Movement. Ultimately when the workers of the university decided they weren't going to work, that meant the university was closed. We didn't close it, the people who do the hard work, those service employees who we sometimes forget to speak to, they did the hardest work and they were the key thing in allowing us to get the university to at least agree it was going to try to meet the demand of at least 10 percent.
>> Panelist for answering the first question it is 1:03, right now. I'm thinking 1:40 -- you know, we'll shoot for that. So I'm going to trust that someone might ask a question about the election and how it might effect the activism during the Q and A , so I'm going to strike that question. And then I'm going to give the panel -- the panelists two minutes, you know, if you didn't get a chance to address the question about you know what the challenge is like you might have faced while organizing -- if you want to address that you can, you know for a couple minutes, and then after that we can do Q and A. So anyone can start.
>> One that came -- yes, pull it closer -- one that came to mind to me when you just asked that question was just -- and this is not pessimistic but just for the Proposal 2 -- Anti Affirmative Action Bill in 2006 -- kind of knowing with pretty clear certainty that it was a losing fight to begin with was pretty discouraging but that was one of the challenges in doing the work. In hindsight and even during, one of our ways of pushing forward was having some consolation in the fact that the counties that we canvased in heavily did show some care and support and if anything that just kind of goes back to saying one of the whole notion of politics is local, know your support local coalitions with those who around you. And that was Washtenaw County and Wayne County obviously so, yes.
>> Also speaking to Prop. 2 -- one of the biggest difficulties during that time was like -- was like previously said that sort of knowing that we're fighting a losing battle but also not feeling as if we had the support we needed. So at the time President Mary Sue Coleman was very openly in support of the proposition and that sort of rattled the alumni base and upset a lot of people. and so even though we have a president that was very supportive -- you've got all these alumni who are furious that were eventually going to join this alumni, they basically have no interest in supporting us students of color and that was really rough. And I will never forget at the time I was working for Telefund and -- which is a -- we could have a whole panel about the struggles of that -- but essentially it's a fundraising division university, you're calling out to alumni asking them to donate. And at the time that Prop. 2 was coming up on the ballot and just after President Coleman had publically spoken out in support of affirmative action at the university, I happened to be calling through a list of older alumni and I remember speaking to a woman who had graduated maybe like the late 40's or early 50's, and she didn't really want to take about fundraising or why we needed money, she wanted to talk about how ridiculous she thought it was that we were keeping affirmative action for "those people" who didn't really deserve to be there anyway. And I've had for almost my entire life people make a lot of assumptions about my race when I'm on the phone. And so I really think she thought she was talking to a white student who would agree with her sentiments that you know, folks like me didn't belong. And that was really hard for me to have school pride, to keep pushing toward graduating, and joining an alumni base of folks that weren't seeking to protect diversity. In general, I think another struggle -- and then also is part of a larger struggle is the kind of burnout that comes when you're tying to do this work and also be a student, which sometimes you're just like not, because you're so invested. And the other piece that was a major struggle was, parking this idea of this divide between what's the right way to go about things, is having constant criticism where you can't really win. So if we're doing something like blacking out the wall, writing messages on the [Inaudible], posting flyers to educate people about the black action movement and you're doing too much and you're being disruptive. But then if we're going to the office of undergraduate missions, we're doing callouts to black students, well that's too soft. And often the people who are offering these criticisms -- we're like, "OK, well what do you recommend?" Crickets. There's nothing that you're adding and so there's this constant criticism and you're feeling like you're working so hard for a community that is perpetually telling you that whatever you're doing is either too much or not enough. And it's hard to keep the momentum and keep feeling like it's worth it to fight, when the people that you're fighting for don't even think that what you're doing matters.
>> I would say for me the biggest challenge was -- well, I was impeached as Chair -- or as Speaker. So at the time I was speaker we had an all women executive board and so there was a faction of men who got together and impeached us. And it was really challenging -- so my students are here looking at me -- "You got impeached?" So I think that part of the issue with being -- being here at a time when things were relatively OK -- and I literally mean relatively because we certainly had many issues that we were facing and where we had access to a lot of resources and we were young. I think that we were easily swayed in some ways. And part of the argument of the folks that were moving against us was that we weren't doing enough, which is probably true. So you know, if we had 2,800 African American students on campus and only 100 -- our biggest crowds ever -- but only 100 were showing up to our meetings, then clearly we weren't doing enough. If we were only eight percent or seven point whatever percent of the population here, we weren't doing enough outreach -- so kind of the same kinds of sentiments. But part of me also feel like -- in the absence of a big external threat we turned on each other and certainly my experience as a black student on campus during that time is it was very warm. It was -- you know everyone spoke to each other and while everyone didn't feel necessarily part of the Black Student Union I think there was a sense of community that certainly coming back in years directly after that was really absent and so -- and part of what happened was -- well, you're impeached and we said, "Well, who will take over?" And there were crickets. And so it was really -- you know, it was a really painful experience in a lot of ways. And you know, and talking to those folks afterwards about what happened, I think a lot of is they feel like -- they felt like they had -- there were some -- you know, a couple influential people and again a sort of lack of clarity on what our goal was as an organization. So that was difficult. And I -- you know, and I think a lot of it was obvious sexism that -- you know, I think that we have to face in term of any activism -- so who's at the table when the decisions are being made? And who's viewed as righteous or worthy and what kind of tools do have to be either supportive of one another or destructive? And unfortunately in that case, things -- things didn't go well so, yes.
>> Whenever -- not just here but in the African Liberation Support Movement, The Free South Africa movement -- consistently the organizational challenge that I have seen stands out is -- how to manage internal conflict and how to resolve disagreements. And part of that has to do with the tone that's allowed. And having a conversation about how unity of purpose doesn't mean unison. And having somebody who's willing to stand up and say, "I don't agree with anything you said, but I understand that you honestly feel that way." And one of those things in an organizational dynamic is that in every organization, there's a second a second strata of leaders, they don't have titles, but they are leaders because they're the people who have figured out how to chill everybody out a bit. And in the 70's and the 60's -- believe it or not, at the University of Michigan there were three black men to every black woman. I know it was another time in life. Before they stopped -- apparently black men stopped graduating from high school for a whole lot of horrible reasons. So we had a different dynamic. And it was the women who tended to be kind of like OK -- you're having this argument, you're having this argument, let's just summarize this and this is what we can do together. Coming up with the BAM demands and keeping them at 11 required constant retooling and constant conversation. Much of it however, was not honest. Meaning that somebody would just say, like we all do in our marriages, "OK honey, you win." But that was because at the time, that was what was important to maintain the family -- you know, the fact that you cannot put the toilet seat down should not be the reason why the kids have to see parents every other week. But what happens at the end of organization surges is that's probably the time to start to talk about the conflict and to start to talk about the rules and we often don't do that.
>> So I guess similar to what everyone else said. BBUM had a lot of internal conflict as well. And I think most of that was attributed to the criticism -- the harsh criticism that we received from our own community. A lot of people telling you or questioning you if you should be what you are doing, how you're doing it, and who's doing it. I think a lot of that that comes with egos and when you're [Inaudible] every weekend, and you know -- why are you on the news? Or a bunch of things and so that led to a lot of internal conflicts within the group. That's something that I really didn't know how deal with at that time, I really didn't know how to sort of navigate those conflicts other than just taking the ego out of it and taking the I into a me and that focusing on the work. But you know, I would say the criticism from the ruling I think had the most impact because it really effected how it was internally. Obviously we got criticism. from -- you know, the majority and a lot of misinformation about -- "Oh you wanted to have 10 percent enrollment and have it not qualified." As if there's no other qualified African Americans around the country that can attend the university. So we dealt with that but I think the criticisms that had the most impact was from the community often followed by crickets as everybody said.
>> Thanks Tyrell. Thanks to the panelists for answering the question about that challenges they faced. It is 1:15, we have given permission to go until 2:00 P.M. I think we should still open it for questions, so if there's anyone who wants to ask a questions, we have a microphone over here to my right, on your left and I -- and we have someone with a mike in the back and you know, I think this is a time -- especially for students who are involved right now to ask questions or even share any of the challenges that they might have faced while they're organizing.
>> HI everyone. It's a pleasure to sit here and listen to activists who have been doing the work for decades. I consider myself part of this work right now. I'm involved with a student organization called Students of Color Rackham. And just today I put out a statement on the election and what kind of -- what are some action steps that as students we can take. And I'll be honest I used some harsh language about our president elect and what that means for the strength of bigotry in this country. And I got some feedback from our constituents. Some very supportive, some of a mind set that that kind of language perpetuates divisiveness. And I'm wondering how you have in your own work kind of navigated that line?
>> I'll start out. See my life is easy. When you're a judge they give you this box they want you to stay in. And so there are a lot of things you can't say. But one of things that I've tried to figure out in conversation and even as a lawyer -- two things -- is it true and it will it help? And if al it does it make me feel better for five minutes -- you know -- I am glad that I grew up in an era before Tweets, Snap, and all that. You had to literally write it down and reflect on it. And my suggestion is that say what is absolutely true and no more and no less.
>> I think for me navigating that had a lot to do with kind of making it clear that everybody doesn't have to do the same thing and that if everybody's doing the same thing nothing else is getting done. And so when that comes to tone, there are some people who are going to be super eloquent and I'm going to write you a beautiful Op-Ed in the Times and you know, whatever, and there are people who are going to stand on the stairs of Hatcher and set it off on a microphone. And those people are needed in both of those spheres. And it's this -- and that's with activism in general. And I can't remember who I was speaking to at the time, but it was probably Mama Beth [Assumed Spelling] because she's so wise. But I was given this sort of metaphor of activism as like this ecosystem and so there's all these things that are going on that come together to create this ecosystem and it's OK to have different parts because it all comes together to get the work done. So for me I kind of -- as I said earlier I'm kind of like a person who might get into positions and do more of the quieter, chiller, side of things now. But I would never like -- I just really admire Students for Justice a lot. Like so for me right that's where I'm at. But they're in a very bold and radical place. And I'm not going to tell them what to do because I'm doing something and they're doing something and they're different things, but we have the same goal. So keeping that in mind and understanding that everybody has a part is really important. And even -- someone else -- there are so many wise people around me -- where just talking about the simple things that people did even during the Civil Rights Movement. So someone might not have been front line picketing, someone might not have been out in the streets being hosed down and they are -- you know, feeding the protesters. Like someone was talking about almost every activist during that time had come through this particular restaurant. So you might be out here giving a speech or rallying or canvasing -- you know, or you might be making greens. Like whatever it is that's for the people -- like if it's for the people then do it. That's how I think.
>> I think this is a particularly touching question for me -- partly because Michael's my student -- but partly -- you know, so as an administrator this has been a really hard week for me because I realize that one I serve multiple constituencies. That there -- that I have to think about how other people will interpret my words and anything that I write. That there are people in some of those constituencies for instance who voted for Trump, and so I have to be mindful of that. At the same time I have also felt like as an administrator, people are looking for --- you know, cues about how to handle this. And I think sometimes when we -- you know are constantly wearing the mask, then people begin to think that that's what's expected of them. And there are moments in time when outrage is appropriate. And so I had a moment when we had a psychology event to talk about the election. And you know, we were talking about all the -- you know, wonderful things we could do and -- you know, we as psychologists have all these contributions to make and I said -- you know, but I'm angry. I'm really mad and frustrated. And I don't think we've been here before and this is something new and different. And so sometimes I don't want to hear people say, "It's all going to be fine". And for those of you who know me well, you know that I tend to be you know, sunshiny, optimistic -- you know -- and I think that also gave permission for those people who were around to say, yes sometimes it is OK to be really angry and frustrated. So I think that we're dealing with that tension all the time. So knowing you, Michael, you know you don't use harsh language. And so coming from you, maybe that said something about the particular position we're in right now and that can be helpful to other people in moving forward. At the same time I think we also want to mindful of defining who the community is and what our responsibilities are and -- and you know, the potential lasting vestiges of our words and our deeds and so it's sort of a tight rope that we have to continue to walk.
>> I would just add -- excuse me -- I would just add one thing briefly to that and that is to just second what Judge Stephens also mentioned and all that have been shared in terms of it's truthful on the one hand for sure, like that's something that should feel confident in sharing but have an outcome in mind and a method. And like a method for yourself that will help you make that decision on whether or not it's something you're going to share to your constituencies at a given time, or if it's going to be a subset, or your own group, because I know it's something that I navigate all the time as a black American, as a Muslim. There's some things that I have that I share with certain audiences. Some things I reserve for my family, some I reserve for my co-religionists, some I reserve for those who are in my faith. And it's not because I don't necessarily want to share that truth with others, but it might be something that contextually meets this purpose and someone else might not understand without having giving context. So just give yourself a method so that you don't have to always constantly tire yourself determining is this the right thing to say right now? If you have a method for yourself -- at least for me, it helps in making that process smoother.
>> I guess I'm not -- I don't know what exactly you said, but I think also recognizing what about I guess the response that you got is racialized, that's something we dealt with a lot with after we released the demands when we stood on the steps of hill and sort of yelled -- we demand -- one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. And then you have seven days to respond or we'll be talking physical action, right? So there was a lot of headlines with this picture of this black woman yelling. "The Black Student Union Threatens Violence at the University of Michigan if the Administration Doesn't Respond." Now what we meant by that wasn't -- obviously we didn't mean we were going to set the campus on fire. We were talking protest, and sit-ins, and things of that nature. But that becomes -- that carries a racial connotation when we say it.
>> Hello, I'm Alan Haber, I was an organizer here in 1950's, '60's, I left in '68. The question I'm interested in is the relation that each of you felt between the student community and the Ann Arbor Community -- Community. Student organizing has seemed very much in it's own bubble and we live in a bigger world. And so many of the questions that you experience, are questions that are being lived out in Ann Arbor. So I'm wondering in your different times -- you know, how did you relate to the Ann Arbor community? And I just have a thought when the Black Action Movement began, one of by buddies at that time, maybe the Judge will remember -- Charles Thomas Junior, not a student but very much a black activist. And he went to the community and he said -- I'll try to use good language -- he said, "We have been oppressed many years. It is time for reparations. You give us money, so we can build the institutions that we need. " And he did get money and built a center for training high school kids in media -- architectonics or something -- went on for quite a few years until he passed on from a stroke are heart attack. But anyway, that was a sense of moving from the energy of the students into the community seems what we need again. How do you see that perspective historically and in the present?
>> I agree that it -- so part of my impeacher's point was that we weren't well integrated into the community. We didn't have a sense of what was happening to the black community in Ann Arbor or even in Detroit and much of our outreach was very unidirectional, that is you know, picking up kids and bringing them to campus and showing them around and thinking that exposing them to the University of Michigan was the answer to poverty and you know, a whole host of other problems. And so we did try to make some attempts at building better coalitions but it was pretty fledgling for sure. And I think that's the key, I think that you know, particularly as we are facing these big legislative Supreme Court decisions, that until we see ourselves as connected to the larger black community or the larger community, you know, that we're not going to make sufficient progress.
>> I agree about the bubble and I think at this point current activism is doing a far better job than we did during my time with being involved with the black community in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. But I feel like in particular around Prop. Two, the fact that it was -- activism here was so much in a bubble and so much about students, sort of backfired on us when we were trying to go out into the community and encourage people to vote no on Two and it was mentioned the name of -- well, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, like the language was very confusing for a lot of people, so there were a lot of folks that were in favor of Affirmative Action that voted yes on it because they thought it was for Affirmative Action and not banning it. So while we were trying to do the education work, while we're tying to get out and talk to voters, they're like, "OK, well that's really nice that you're here and all, but where have you been? Because you've been so self interested up until this point and now you're just kind of showing up." And I've tried to be more mindful of that moving forward because for me I'm personally very critical of people outside of the community who only sort of show up when terrible things are going on and then are just like often, wherever. And so doing that to my own community is not acceptable. So I'm glad that we've gotten past that, but that was definitely a learning experience.
>> I don't know of a campus, I went to -- I was in a PhD program in Atlanta University, my daughter went to FAM [Assumed spelling] and for a brief period of time to Tuskegee. There is "Town and Gown" everywhere. And the relationship between students who are temporary residents and a community which is consistent, albeit changing, is always a challenge and it is in bridging that gap and forging those relationships that a solid relationship with administrators who can build long term relationships that is going to help more than almost anything else. We used to have projects. We had a community service project. All the fraternities and sororities have community service projects. And those projects were always very interesting in the sense that we would take a day and go do something. We had no relationships with the people. So and we would be upset because the response wasn't warm and fuzzy. While why should it be? Paternalistic black people are no different to paternalistic white people, except we have less money. So I look to people who are administrators to facilitate opportunities to build relationships, institutional relationships. Individual students will have -- you'll have opportunities when an issue is raised to participate in that for the broader community. But frankly two thirds of the students here don't vote in Ann Arbor. They vote wherever their parents live or their guardians live. And so while they could join in on community issues, that they're not effective voters. So again, I look to your administration and the people who are in the faculty who are part of the community to provide an opportunity to build relationships. We got one -- she had something she needed to --
>> Hi, I don't know if I'm supposed to stand. I'm Lakyrra [Assumed spelling] from Students4Justice and I think something that we don't talk about -- or that I don't know -- that hasn't been talked about is the emotional toll that all of us -- especially with like intercommunity conflict. At least for me like -- I mean because I'm pretty much numb to like backlash from white students at the university or non-black students even, but I think for me, something that like -- sometimes even like knocks the wind out of me is like the intercommunity conflict and like trying to repair those and still trying to continue on and trying to like open and have the floor open and be like -- well this is the truth, like we can do multiple things but like also having people telling you, "Well, yes we can, but you can't." And so like for I just wonder like how do I personally -- I'm asking for my own personal advice -- like go about like continuing on or like not even -- it's not like I'm like thinking about giving up, but it becomes really hard. Like it's really -- it's more emotional than I ever thought it would be.
>> I left the University of Michigan -- in a million years ago. I had gotten so tied up that I had colitis. Yes, it happens. And -- It's about protecting yourself. And learn it young, don't learn it old.
>> I spoke to experience I had with a role reversal and briefly mentioned fatherhood as an experience. All those together with Prop. Two, with the climate, all those things, and then experienced South Africa and the racism that still exist, and this kind of faulty notion of a utopia there, and actually had a mental break and had to heal. So these are things -- these are real things and you do have to take time. There's a reason why the academic year doesn't go year round, some of us do it and we know what happens. It's the same thing. It's the same thing with activism. You can try and do it year round and you're going to see what's going to happen. So just to that point it's take time for yourself and I keep on harping on kind of method, but it's because it gives yourself a routine on how to navigate with other people and then also a method for your organizations on how to navigate with each other, because at the very least there's some commonality that people can say, OK here's the floor, here's what we agree on, here's how we're going to navigate these things, and then when we start to stray -- bring it back. And then you do that for yourself as well. That's the best advice I can give.
>> I agree with that. You have to take time for yourself, you can't -- there's nothing you can do for your community if you're not healthy yourself -- if you're not physically and mentally and emotionally healthy. Taking time for yourself is -- you have to do that. One thing I will say is -- be as inclusive as you possibly can in all of your efforts. I think a lot of the criticism that we got from the community was sort of grounded in the feeling like they weren't included in the things that was going on surrounding the demands. And so just be as inclusive as you can but also take time for yourself.
>> Yes, I'm going to third that. I think as far as the emotion piece goes, it's important to keep around you, people who are going to sort of push back on that and affirm you on a regular basis. And it's hard when you might have like eight people around you who are doing the work and then you have 200 people on Twitter that are like, "I don't like what you all are trying to do and it's stupid." And so that's like rough, but surrounding yourself with people who affirm you is important and then speaking more to the self care aspect, those people need to affirm you and support you, but also need to be able to tell you when to take a break and when to take care of yourself when you can't see it. And so the judge had me over here in my feelings because the year that I was on BSU E-Board, like I mentioned previously during my time here my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. And during the year that I was on E-Board was when she first really started to decline in a way that was having a really profound effect on me and it was very, very hard for her to not know who I was. To not be -- you know, speaking correctly. She forgot my birthday. All these things were going on and it was hard and I refused to pull back in the way I needed to and ultimately ended up attempting suicide and it was just so -- I can look back and laugh at this point, but I remember being here in the hospital -- at the University Hospital in Psychiatric Emergency, on my computer drafting an email for the BSU to be sent out for an event that we were trying to organize, I think probably around racial injustice or possibly just getting us together. But regardless of what it was, like that wasn't the time for that. You know, I'm in a position where I'm thinking about taking my own life, but what's on my mind is the BSU and the work and I can't stop. And the people who were there with me were like, "If you don't give me this computer, we're going to fight." And so like that -- having those people around me to pull me out of that and to support me through that time was really, really important. And I just can't stress enough how important it is to not only have that mindset but to have people around you. Because sometimes you're just so invested that you cannot see that you're going to break. And having those folks is really, really crucial.
[ Inaudible ]
>> -- In my department I felt very proud to be at the department of Afro American and African Studies. I didn't always make all the doctor's appointments, because I had to see a student -- I had to do this -- I had to do that. It ends up -- it can take your life. And you really, really have to pull back and breathe. Because if you are committed, the work I did with BSU when I was an undergrad, it's followed me all through my life. So if you want to be able to sustain yourself and be nourished, you've got to do it now. You've got to take deep breaths now. Because then you'll be able to continue swimming and you won't drown.
>> Hi, I think I just have like a kind of part two to Lakyrra, so we can like really relate to the pushback and just like, well all right we'll step back and then look around like -- does somebody want to step up? So I know that's something you all face, so this is something like we're in the moment of -- how did you all get like past that? Is there a way to get past it or just like finding your like resolution to like work with people? Like, we've created spaces where we were like -- I'm like, I'll give you -- we're not fighting to have a seat at the table with a table with infinite seats, but I'm like I will step back so you can have your voice heard. OK, meeting the President is cool, if you want to meet with him, I'm OK, like I'm here to help us make space. But then also it's a two part of like, I'm black, so I also have a voice here but balancing like having my voice but not being the voice of the people, but then also relying on other people to have a say. How do you like balance that? So it's like five questions, but just answer whichever one.
>> Like can I -- so we like have -- we actually are only going to have until 1:50, so like there's a couple of other people who had questions. So I would ask for them to ask their questions as well, and then you all can address all of them. So we had someone up here and someone in front of me.
>> Are you going to write them down so we can remember them?
>> Hello, my name is [Inaudible name] I'm a student in developmental psychology and social work. So my question is kind of similar to this sister, is thinking about -- how does your work translate after undergrad? So I had similar experiences where I was very involved in campus and I was tired. I am tired still, right? But I recognized the importance and utility of my skill sets and empowering my people. So I waver between this position of being this fatigued, you know, but yet this desire to make change. And then also thinking about myself as a graduate student and recognizing the way that I engage in my community is going to be a little bit different. So how did -- how did the work in activism you were engaged in as undergraduate students translate to you have you graduated?
>> My question [Inaudible] alumni and being here, obviously you're continuing to support students, but I'm curious as students how active you were engaged with alumni and what role can alumni play and how can that be facilitated? It seems so many of these movements since the nature of student life is four years here and gone in many cases, the stop and start nature and succession planning in organizations and keeping them alive and going. So I was just curious if alumni have a role to play in that, if they do, and where that stands now.
>> So to think about all three questions at the same time -- so we failed at repairing the relationships and there were many hears after our situation that were dark and when people didn't speak on campus, etcetera. What I wish we had done would be to have enlisted our advisors. We did have people on campus who were advisors to us who we did not bring into the fold, including graduate students, including faculty and staff around the university and including alumnus, and I think that if we had some mediation in those situations, I think that we could have managed. And I do feel like the current BSU has done a great job of enlisting black faculty on campus, you know I'm excited about the work that the faculty and DAS have done in terms of standing up for and with students. The graduate advisors who were here when I was a BSU and undergrad were critical in my development as a scholar and an activist. And then the last thing is those folks are still in my life, and so these are not -- you know, Beth is here, right? So the way that the work has translated for me is to remain connected to those communities but also, you know recognizing that even beyond these four years that those circles remain and we from time to time will take up particular issues that we want to address even as alumnus.
>> On that same note thinking of the broader communities, so faculty, staff, students, something I jotted down when I found out about the invite to come to this is just kind of the whole concept of intentional community building in itself and that is -- you know, I wrote down the word grooming, I know that's not probably the best word to use but like looking at who's coming next, distributing capacity to those who will be coming next, sooner than you would like to. Just because, yes, when you're there doing the work you know what you want to do and you don't want to pass it off. But at eventually it's going to happen. So do you want it to happen when you are a senior -- the most engaged and know the most, and when the person after you knows nothing? Or do you start that process sooner? Do you rely on -- you know, folks like Beth? And I'm staff here as well, so if you want to email me. Rely on those of us that can support you in these efforts in whatever capacity we can. Do that as well. Distribute that work in the ways that probated, some of the ways to handle these -- you know, you build community around whatever issue, whatever -- and it doesn't have to be an issue. Like, I'm thinking of BUS unity dinners, the UMOJA barbecue, those were the times when -- hey, when you need to take a break from the stuff, you got to take a break from the stuff. You got to take time to come back, build your community, and rely on. And that included alumni. One of the most powerful retreats we had is when we had Jahwan and Panther came back and they kind of like shook us up, like " You all ain't doing enough, you all better like get out there and make it happen," whatever -- we came out charged and we you know, just pulling an alumni BSU and it charged us -- it was thinking on how to pull on your community those are younger and those that are older.
>> One thing that I was thinking as I listened to this was as we take on a role, think through what the goals are. What it is that you need most to have accomplished and it resonates within our community way beyond. We have churches that don't survive the next generation after the founding pastor because the founding pastor knew everything and controlled everything, and she wouldn't teach the next person. We have organizations that are similar. And so what I've tried to learn and I am still learning at 65 is whenever I invest in something what am I investing for and who am I investing with? So that you go on and you say, "OK, I'll chair this committee." Because you know, you talk about diversity fatigue, trust us -- there's -- it doesn't get better as you get younger. You're always going to be one of the few black women in the room. So when you take on a role it needs to be something you want that you believe you can accomplish something in and you set a time limit for it. And during part of that time limit you try to find one or two people to be groomed. And the thing that I've also figured out really recently -- If nobody else wants to do it after I've done it as long as I can, it must not need to be done.
>> Do we have any more responses to those questions?
>> The question about the alumnus. We had a lot of alumnus that stepped in and stepped up when we were going through the demand period. We had some that came down and helped us -- you know, write them out. We had Glenn [Assumed spelling] who ultimately got us on CNN, but I think what I remember the most -- I don't know if Lester is still in the room -- was an email that he sent to Beth that Beth forwarded us offering words of encouragement. And it came exactly at the right time because it was -- we were in the middle of negotiations which were stressful, we were getting all of this criticism from the community -- he simple said, "You know there's going to come a time where you're going to go at each other and you're going to wonder if you're doing the right work or if you should be doing the work. And there's going to come a time where -- you know, people are going to question the work that you're doing and there's going to come a time where you feel like the movement is going to crack. But know that you're doing it for the right reasons, you're doing it for younger black students who because of you will be able to attend the university." And so words of encouragement. That is -- and I still reference that email today. You know, I read that email this morning. I think that's the easiest thing an alumni can do.
>> All right, I think the question around getting people to step up and alumni have been answered really well and I agree with those sentiments. I think for me as far as how the work translates postgrad -- like, I'm in grad school right now, and I haven't really had like a big girl job because I went straight from graduation into grad school. But in sort of the weird period where I was out of school and hadn't finished my bachelor's degree I felt kind of empty and I didn't know who I was or what I was doing because so much of my identity was wrapped up in the work that I had done on campus. And I'm like, well how do I translate that. And so ultimately I was able to use the things I learned during the work on campus and use that same passion for my community to put that into Alzheimer's Advocacy and Activism because Alzheimer's disease disproportionately affects the black community. And so being able to speak powerfully on that issue and have passion for it and read up on the policy and get people -- you know, moving. The BSU was even super helpful of that. Like one of the first walks I did, the whole squad was just like, "We're here, with you." And so being able to translate that to different things is a really good way of making you feel like, OK I wasn't just here for whatever period of time and did this work and now it's all over. Like there are different ways to continue to do work in different capacities using what you've learned as a student activist.
>> So it is 1:51. We are out of time. Let's make sure we give everyone on the panel a hand.
[ Applause ]