Black Student Union presents ‘New Black Renaissance’ panel

By Tierra Smith

Feb. 26, 2018

A Black History Month Panel Exclusive, “The New Black Renaissance: How current social movements are shaping black culture today,” suggested a greater acceptance of themselves and their culture for today’s American blacks.

Hosted by the Black Student Union on Feb. 22, the program featured a panel of Cleveland State students who discussed the differences they see in the culture of their parents’ generations in comparison to their own.

The panelists included Julian Wilson, president of the Black Student Union, Jeffery E. Carr, president of the Black Law Students Association, and Isaac Monah, a member of the Black Law Students Association. Gina C. Huffman, assistant director of admissions in the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law moderated the panel.

Huffman, who grew up in the ’60s, said the civil rights movement of that era was her generations black renaissance.

“With the use of social media, many celebrities use their platforms for advocating for people of color,” Hoffman said. “They are using their power to speak on the issues that black people face on the day-to-day basis. In the “new black renaissance” we are beginning to love ourselves and embrace who we are.”

Wilson said that the new black renaissance is a “continuous epiphany.”

“Black people are starting to realize that they do not have to limit themselves,” Wilson said. “They are no longer induced by self-hate [that] they were taught in previous generations. When black people see other people who look like them achieving their goals, it makes it real.”

He highlighted three social programs across the United States that for him, demonstrate efforts to expand this renaissance and support black achievement.

His examples included Black Girls’ Code, a program that increases the number of black women learning how to work with computer programming. The second was Pennsylvania Prison Society, which advocates for the rights of those affected by incarceration. The third is the National Black Justice Coalition, a program designed to make employment more inclusive for the LGBTQ community.

Jeff Carr, president of the Black Law Students Association, said the new black renaissance involves looking more for equality and a seat at the table. He said he is inspired by Colin Kaepernick and the movement he spurred. Carr said he believes that working together will build a better platform and foundation for all people of color.

In the question and answer portion that followed this hour-long panel, some members of the audience voiced that they felt inspired and motivated hearing from the individuals who spoke. Hoffman ended the panel with a few simple words for the audience: “Love yourself and embrace what you have.”  


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