By: IAN BROWN
Emotions ran high Thursday night as IU South Bend’s Student Government Association (SGA) held an academic discussion in light of the Black Lives Matter movement that has recently been gaining attention across the nation.
Stephen Salisbury, President of the SGA, received no opposition from the University for holding the academic discussion on campus.
Students and community members of all ages and races packed into room 1001 in Wiekamp Hall. Seven panelists were invited to share their thoughts and experiences of the events that have led to the development of the Black Lives Matter movement. Each panelist was met with respect and appreciation from the crowd, including Chief Jeff Rynearson and Captain Darryl Boykins of South Bend Police Department. Both expressed nothing but respect for the movement and the South Bend community. Rynearson explained some of the difficulties law enforcement have in relation to the communities they work in.
“When we go into an area experiencing difficulties and high crime, and sometimes violent crime, we as a police department need to be absorbed into the community, as opposed to saturating it,” Rynearson said. Rynearson hopes to see law enforcement communicating with members of the community more often.
Blue Casey is a local rapper in the South Bend area. He spoke at the Black Lives Matter rally in downtown South Bend on July 9 and was also in attendance at the event on Thursday. Despite receiving death threats due to the rally last month, Casey hopes to get more members organized and plans to continue holding rallies and spreading awareness for the movement. The general consensus of the viewers was that the event went well and that it was just the beginning.
Senior, Devonte Glass, a member of the IU South Bend Queer Straight Alliance, as well as the Black Student Union said, although he wished there would have been more of an opportunity for the crowd to express their opinions, he was happy with how the event turned out.
“I think it went great overall,” Glass said. “The panelists expressed a lot of key points as to why the Black Lives Matter movement is important and how we can be a better alliance to marginalized communities.”