Tag Archives: civil rights

Freedom to Kneel

San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick re-ignited athlete-driven protests with his stand against police brutality, and he’s empowered many other athletes to speak out.

In 2015, The Washington Post documented close to a thousand fatal shootings by police, ninety-three of which involved people who were unarmed. Black men accounted for about forty percent of the unarmed people fatally shot by police, and were seven times as likely as unarmed white men to die from police gunfire.

Now the argument over whether or not professional and collegiate athletes should be able to use their platform as a personal means of expression has become a large national issue.

This isn’t a new movement. Athletes like Mohammed Ali and 1968 Olympic Medalist Tommie Smith are known for making athlete-driven statements decades ago.

Since athletes are technically at work when they decide to make these protests, the debate stems from whether or not they should be penalized for doing so.

“Some of them may feel they are not at that level to take that risk,” CSUN Africana Studies Professor David Horne said. “[Their employers might say] ‘we expect you to not conduct yourself in a way that would embarrass the team or the business’.”

But athletes have only their professional platforms to make a statement. Whether they are in an interview or on the field, they have a limited amount of airtime, but they often have a large following.

“It’s their right to do so,” said Reverend Jewett Walker, President of 100 Black Men of Los Angeles. “If someone chooses to do that, I think we should embrace that, honor that, and respect it.”

Many athletes have messages that aren’t meant to start controversy.

“My responsibility was to be an example,” said CSUN Women’s Basketball Coach, and former college basketball player, Jason Flowers, “so somebody that had the same background as me could look [at me] … and say ‘that person was able to succeed, and I’m capable of it too’.”

Moderator: Jordan Williams

Anchor: Kiesha Phillips

Producer: Daniel Saad

Social Media Editors: Delmy Moran and Celene Zavala

Reporters: Delmy Moran, Brittni Perez, Kiesha Phillips, Daniel Saad, Jordan Williams and Celene Zavala

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Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is a movement which began two years ago, after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the charges against him during the Trayvon Martin murder trial. CSUN was the site of a Black Lives Matters event recently, organized to bring awareness to students about the issues surrounding the cause.

One of the goals of the event was to teach students about what they can do to make a difference. Workshops were held so that students could learn how to become involved in the movement.

“The beautiful thing is, when we teach these things to students, then [they] get a foundation and they can use that foundation to move forward and help Black Lives Matter,” said Dr. Aimee Glocke said, a professor in CSUN’s Department of Africana Studies.

Some have questioned whether BLM’s decision to forego a traditional hierarchy and go without an appointed leader might limit the group’s ability to spread its message and accomplish its goals.

“I feel like that’s a phenomenal way to go,” Glocke said, “because then the idea is that there is a collective voice. There are different perspectives in it, and that includes same gender loving lives [and] black [transgender] individuals who have been murdered by the police…This is a leader-full movement, [and] this gives [it] an advantage, because it includes so many different black people in different walks of life.”

Another response has been to the name of the movement, and expression of the opinion that BLM should be focused on ‘all lives matter’, so it encompasses all ethnic backgrounds, but supporters of the BLM movement say this change would take away from the real problem.

Wesley Williams, the president of CSUN’s Black Male Initiative Organization, explained why the name Black Lives Matter is so important.

“It’s like there are two houses,” Williams said. “A perfectly standing [home] and a burning home….Because all houses matter, we’re going to water down this perfectly fine house while the other one burns. Even though one needs [the water] more than the other.”

“We’re getting murdered; we’re having the trouble with the police,” Williams said. “And other races aren’t being affected by it this dramatically.”

Another problem Black Lives Matter addresses is the media’s often unfair and selective view of Black America.

“The media embraces white supremacy and racism, so how can we ever expect them to give [this movement] a fair portrayal?” Glocke asked.

Glocke said the news media can manipulate the audience by showing only black violence, and almost none of the progressive work that is being done.

“How many news stations showed [the recent Million Man March]?” Glocke asked. “ The idea is here [was] a peaceful, wonderful, community-oriented movement, that revolved around Black Lives Matter, and that doesn’t get shown.”

Police brutality towards the black community is nothing new, but many Americans have become more aware of the issue because of the Internet. The internet’s accessibility makes it easy for people to share any videos documenting these incidents.

BLM has been successful using social media to spread its message. Even the name started out as a hashtag on twitter, and then the movement took off using social media.

“[The police] have control over media as a mass,” Williams said. “They own those. But they don’t own what I post on my Instagram, my Twitter, my Snapchat. Those go around and touch millions of people.”

Social media also make it easy for celebrity figures to get involved and bring these issues into the forefront.

“The people who [are] in a position of power and have the influence, [aren’t always using] it for good,” Williams said. “[These] are the people who the black people really need, and because they don’t care, is why white America [doesn’t] care.”


Moderator: Daisy Lightfoot

Anchor: Sarina Sandoval

Reporters: Jon Gripe, Ashley Horton, Daisy Lightfoot, Andrew Pitters, Sarina Sandoval

Social Media Editors: Jon Gripe, Daisy Lightfoot, Andrew Pitters

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