Black Lives Matter: Controversial series title starts social justice discourse

Leslie Angela Blanco/ Staff Writer

When FIU NOW re-posted an Instagram photo that brought to attention the name of an event being hosted at BBC, the “All Lives Matter” series was thrust into the spotlight.

The series, hosted and sponsored by Multicultural Programs and Services and organized by Associate Director Jeffrey McNamee, came under fire for the title, which FIU NOW considered disrespectful to the Black Lives Matter campaign.

McNamee created this event as a part of a workshop series that tackles social justice topics.

“The All Lives Matter Series tackles different things about stereotypes, racism, cultures, ethnicity, and social justice. The workshop is not apart of the hashtag all lives matter that’s on twitter, it’s not that,” McNamee said.

In light of events within the last few years regarding police brutality and the marginalization, racial profiling, and discrimination focused on minority groups, there have been movements to bring awareness to these social issues.

Black Lives Matter and its matching hashtag came about in response to these controversial incidents.

In opposition to this campaign, All Lives Matter movement populated on social media with the aim to counter protest this group with the hashtag #alllivesmatter. This has brought frustration to the former because it denounces the Black Lives Matter movement and its efforts to bring about social change.

Students at FIU responded to the title of the workshop series with scrutiny and suspicion.

Laura Hernandez, a member of NOW said, “Seeing the title I honestly thought that it was disrespectful. I mean obviously I feel really strongly of the movement and that it should get the recognition it deserves–black lives matter and the meaning behind it,” said Laura Hernandez, a member of NOW.

“I thought the people behind this title—the people at [MPAS], I thought they would be the ones that would have knowledge that #alllivesmatter is a very controversial subject. That’s what surprised me the most—it surprised a lot of people.”

After seeing the event via social media, students didn’t hesitate to voice their concerns about the title and the issues behind it.

“I wish they would come out to the event, I’ve actually gotten feedback this past week because it’s close to the workshop. If there are lots of people upset, let’s get in a room together, let’s talk it out,” said McNamee in response.

“I’m not opposed to changing the name but I want to talk to people. That’s what the social justice is about—we’re supposed to talk together and prompt good intelligent discourse and it’s a discourse I think students need to have.”

Esi Fynn-Obeng, cofounder and president of the African Student Organization, was a speaker at the #BlackWomenMatter forum last Thursday, Sept. 24, although she has issues with the title of the series.

“All Lives Matter belittles the Black Lives Matter movement, silences and dismisses the issues that BLM is trying to spread awareness about which is a war on black bodies by police officers on a global and national level.” Fynn-Obeng said.

“I’m against it, I understand the reasoning for it—global diversity, ect. If it wanted to be a place where everyone can think and talk about these issues that’s great but I wish a title was used to articulate that.”

The All Lives Matter workshop series first took place in the beginning of September. The next one, “All Lives Matter: The ‘N’ Word Discussion” will take place on Thursday, Oct. 1, in WUC 155 at 2 p.m. The events after will be “All Lives Matter: Black Lives Matter” on Thursday, Oct. 15, in WUC 253 at 12:30 p.m. followed by “All Lives Matter: Chinese Lives Matter” on Tuesday, Oct. 27, in WUC 253 at 2:30 p.m.

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