Students at Florida A&M University and Florida State University have created the FAMU/FSU Minority Alliance to bridge the gap between blacks students from both universities, after a seminar was held in October at FSU, titled “Across the Tracks: The Difference Between You and Me,”
“That seminar really shed light on the fact that some African-Americans from the two schools really don’t understand one another,” said Valeria Obi, Co-chair of the alliance. “There are some that are persuaded that they are better because they attend one school versus the other and there are some that feel the exact opposite. However, there shouldn’t be a separation among them.”
Obi said the organization’s purpose is to improve and unify black students from both campuses.
“This organization will help break down the barriers that exist between each institution as well as provide solutions to the problems that ail the African-American community,” Obi said.
Obi, 19, a sophomore political science student from Sarasota and Black Student Union Ambassador at FSU, said she thinks bridging the gap between minority students is extremely important.
“I definitely see this as a well-rounded organization and [the alliance] eventually becoming huge,” Obi said.
Co-chair Phillip Agnew said it is important for black students at both universities to have an organization where they can exchange issues and ideas.
“We should be able to expand networks across school lines, said Agnew, 22, a senior marketing student from Chicago. “It’s not about hating one another, but building each other up as a black culture.”
Markeshia Gorden, 22, of Tallahassee and a senior theater performance student at FAMU, said she believes the media and the negativity of some people makes the gap between black students on both campuses seem a lot bigger than what it actually is.
“In the media, it’s always FAMU and FSU,” said Gorden, a volunteer for the student government association. “FAMU gets limited spotlight in the media for its good achievements and a lot of coverage when things are bad and it’s just the opposite for FSU.”
Gorden also said sometimes students play a part in creating outside barriers just as much as the media.
She said students who aren’t strong-minded or those who are easily persuaded are deterred when negative situations occur.
“I am the exact opposite and feel that the alliance is a great idea,” Gorden said. “Each university first needs to correct problems, if any, among its own students and then the two can come together as an alliance and expand.”
La’Ron Louis, 22, a FSU graduate from Palatka, said although he thinks there is a gap it is by personal choice.
“Some black FSU students enjoy going over to FAMU because they feel more comfortable over there and then there are some who dislike it,” Louis said.
Obi said she believes the FAMU/FSU Minority Alliance will definitely clear up all misunderstandings and bridge the gap between the schools.
“Right now we’re trying to get it off the ground by establishing an executive board and electing a few students from each school to assist a chairperson with each position,” Obi said.
Obi said the organization will be extremely beneficial for both universities and it should be in full force by the spring semester.
“African-Americans need to stick together, no matter what, and I hope that this movement can eventually grow into a huge organization,” Obi said.