Emporia State answered questions about race and police brutality during a Friday morning Zoom meeting led by Aswad Allen, ESU’s chief diversity officer.
“No group of people are superior or inferior to another group,” Allen said. “When you recognize that, it’s important to identify practices and policies and philosophies that support (that) one group is superior over another and dismantle those constructs.”
The meeting was ESU’s response/one of ESU’s responses to the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, ignited after the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
“We are going to have to solve this problem that we have,” Allen said. “We have different ideas about what the problem is, but I think we can all agree that at this particular point in...our history, the fabric of our nation is being ripped apart.”
Emporia State released an email statement on June 1, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Zoom call was live-streamed on YouTube and had about 200 people watching live between the two platforms. Some questions were sent in beforehand, and some were asked during the Zoom call.
“Over the past two weeks almost, I’ve come to realize that as a white woman, it’s time for me to just sit down and listen to what black people have to say and to let them use their voice,” said Abby Smith, alumna. “Not only just listen, but actually hear what they’re saying.”
Allen compared the United States to a human body, saying that if one part hurts, the whole body feels it.
“Our nation is like a body, a body of people,” Allen said. “It’s one body. We may believe we’re independent and separate from others, but our nation will not succeed until we recognize that foot bone is connected to the leg bone and the leg bone is connected to the hip bone and all that because it’s very real. If part of our body is not doing well, then it’s going to cause pain, unintended, for the rest of our body. That means everybody.”