Earlier this year, the death of George Floyd while in police custody, ignited racial unrest across the nation.
In an effort to discuss systemic racism, implicit bias and issues of inequity, the Black Student Union (BSU) created the People’s Platform. The virtual gatherings allow open dialogue between students and the FIU administration to address issues that face the black community at FIU.
“The People’s Platform not only acknowledges students concerns but offers actionable steps to help build a stronger FIU community,” said Artrice Shepherd, BSU president.
Continuing the thoughtful conversation, last week’s BSU’s annual State of the Union virtual event featured a panel of speakers that included George Floyd’s family members.
“[My nephew’s] life was cut short by racism, by anger, by hatred,” said Selwyn Jones, George Floyd’s uncle. “It’s got to stop.”
To address inequalities at the university, FIU has created a new division with Senior Vice President for Human Resources El pagnier Kay “EK” Hudson serving as the first vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Changes will require time, resources and collaboration—and BSU is committed to asking the difficult questions. “We will continue to seek the best solutions, and we will stop at nothing to rise above it at all,” Shepherd said.
Iris Elijah, participating panelist and general counsel for FIU, encouraged students and the community to persist with their efforts for change by continuing to apply pressure, getting involved, going to the state capital and representing exactly why the issue matters to them.
“[Change] starts with young [people] like yourself that haven’t been tainted, that think differently,” added Jones. “If we don’t start with you all, where is it going to start?”