By John Kay, Western Campus Editor-in-Chief
Tri-C hosted Rian Brown on February 23rd for its continuation of the “Celebrating Diversity Series.” Rian Brown is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Cleveland, and also works with grassroots organizations in Michigan, Cleveland, and Kalamazoo. She has dedicated her life to the long-haul effort to bring awareness to racial inequality.
Rian Brown spoke in the North Galleria on the Western Campus. The one and half hour event strived to create a more engaging and open dialog for its students and faculty alike. The series has shown that Tri-C is committed to a diverse understanding of ideas, but it also shows the colleges’ willingness to engage in discourse with its student body.
Ms. Brown opened with the work that she and her organizations have done, and then moved onto the pressing issues of injustice. Students and professors alike had a plethora of questions regarding the need for change.
The audience showed their concern for a lack of evidence in some law enforcement cases—and that sparked discussion throughout the event. An older gentlemen advocated for the need to address the status of black communities, and how that has played a vital role in the overall issue.
In an interview after the event, Ms. Brown was asked about the noise surrounding Black Lives Matter, and if that can have a negative affect on the effectiveness of racial change? “I think the first way to kind of break the bumble…you have to go out and see what’s going on,” replied Rian Brown. “I think for me; I learn best when I’m making practical connections to what I’m studying. So naturally, organizing was a thing I fell into, but I think one thing that you can do is actually follow the work of Black Lives Matter Cleveland.”
She later pointed to their involvement in the betterment of communities—a side that the news media lacks to report. Brown spoke of her efforts to raise the standard for education, and for providing resources for healthier foods in these communities.
Ms. Brown talked about the biggest misconception of Black Lives Matter from the news media. “Most of the media coverage that Cleveland covers of me…I’m normally yelling, or my mouth is open and I look really angry,” replied Brown.
“One thing that I would encourage students to do is to look to really alternative media. If you look at mainstream media, you’ll probably always going to find a narrative where we look scary. That is kind of the sensationalism of journalism, it is part of it right now. It is the new trend,” said Rian Brown.
This event showed passion and honest concern throughout the large audience. Young and elderly individuals discussed with Rian Brown about social injustice; although, most disagreed on how to address these complicated issues.
The complexity of certain social issues has not stopped Ms. Brown from raising awareness across the country and on local college campuses. Rian verbalized the need for students to be properly informed about these issues, and to be involved in their communities in a positive way. “I definitely know that in any movement; historically, its always been the youth that have led the way and kind of charged what issue to work on,” expressed Brown.