BBC campus to hold discussion forum on institutional racism

Joshua Ceballos/ Contributing Writer

In an effort to provide a safe place and environment for students to discuss social issues, the University’s Office of Multicultural Programs and Services will be hosting a series of talks called the “Social Justice Series,” throughout the semester.

“We host this series… it’s for everyone. It’s not just towards one specific ethnicity or culture. We’ve also done a ‘Chinese Lives Matter’ because that’s not discussed as much,” says Mark Harris, one of the event organizers and graduate assistant for MPAS. “As far as institutional racism, a lot of people may understand it but may not even know that it’s an actual concept… that this is a real thing.”

Harris adds that it’s important to have these conversations as they spread awareness.

“We wanted to allow a safe place and environment, something comfortable for students to come around and talk about some of the things that they may have experienced or they may not know much about, especially around social justice,” said Harris.

The first talk of the series will be titled “Institutional Racism, Is it real?” on Feb. 22.

According to Harris, he and Jeffrey McNamee, program director for MPAS, will be facilitating the talk, though the floor is open for students and faculties to share their stories pertaining to this topic.

Although institutional racism is often associated in the media pertaining to the black community, and this is Black History Month, Harris says, the talk will not only focus on the Black community.

In many cases where institutional racism is prevalent, there is no actual level playing field, Harris says. Individuals who believe they have a chance at a job or something of that nature do not actually have any chance because of the discriminatory foundation of the institution.

“These are some of the things that students may experience, and this isn’t something that is talked about in a class… We want our students to make sure that once they graduate college that they’re actually aware of this type of action, to make sure that [they’re] being treated equal.”

The discussion will be open to all University students, faculty, and staff. Students interested in the institutional racism talk can attend at the Biscayne Bay Campus, in the Wolfe University Center, room 253 from 3 to 4 p.m.

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