Following the death of Michael Brown last summer, the black community and its allies rallied around the hashtag "#BlackLivesMatter" as a battle cry and a call to action regarding violence toward blacks in the U.S.
But the movement at MSU has not ended.
MSU students were among those who stood in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, utilizing existing student organizations such as the Black Student Alliance to stand for the issues Black Lives Matter supports — namely fighting for black lives.
Advertising and public relations junior Kelsi Horn said she believes that the interest in the movement is “a testament to how successful the campaign had been," adding that
"it has created a heightened sense of awareness among many college students.”
Horn, who is the vice president of the Black Student Alliance at MSU, also explained why activism for and among the black community is so crucial today.
“In our generation, it is easy for people to ignore the plight of being black in America like it is a problem that no longer exists, yet people advocate for the equality of other communities,” Horn said.
As this new year begins, Horn has high hopes for continued involvement in initiatives such as Black Lives Matter and says that she will “continue to be a change agent and a voice for (her) community.”
“I am passionate about the Black Lives Matter campaign because I am not only advocating for the victims we see in the news but for myself, my family, friends and future children,” Horn said. “Years from now, I want to be proud that I took part in something so impactful for my community. I hope that the movement’s impact continues to flourish and start much needed dialogue in our country.”
For students who want to get involved and aren’t quite sure where to start, Horn has some advice.
“Utilizing the hashtag is the easiest way for students to show their support for Black Lives Matter,” Horn said. “For non-blacks it means they identify with the problem and want to help to change it. For blacks, it is a statement of both desperation and frustration.”
MSU Black Student Alliance President Myya Jones said another crucial aspect of the movement is understanding the history of blacks in America and how this history continues to impact the black community.
“The reason behind the movement is to encourage people to understand and acknowledge how history has played a role in how blacks are portrayed and how institutionalized racism has negatively affected the Black community,” Jones said. “Understanding and acknowledging history plays a big role in people understanding why things are how they are, and how they can be improved for the better.”
This dedication to advocating for blacks in America remains a central point of the Black Lives Matter initiative.
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