CNN comes to campus for discussion

The CNN “Black in America 2” Tour is returning to Florida A&M University today with a mission to increase black awareness.

The event will take place from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., in the FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication lecture hall, room 2002.

Last year, CNN’s kicked off its first “Black in America” tour at FAMU before traveling to six other Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

This year, FAMU was selected again.

“FAMU is considered to be one of the top HBCU’s in the country, it’s important to see what students have to say,” said Nick Nelson, co-founder of LiquidSoul Media and former FAMU student who will appear on the “Black in America 2” series.

Students like Tony Brown said the tour will allow students to state how they feel about issues impacting black communities.

“Students are going to be empowered…students can come voice their opinions,” said Brown, 20, a junior year business administration student from New York.

The tour consists of a 30-minute documentary, which will be a part of a feature aired in July on CNN, followed by an open discussion about issues dealing with African -Americans.

“Students are going to be the next wave of leaders, getting awareness will help their future become as big and bright as they want it to be,” Nelson said.

“[The program] is a continuation of last year, trying to see where we stand as a people,” said Ellis Dean, representative of LiquidSoul Media, and former FAMU student. “We started solutions as a part of last year’s program and we’re already working on [new] solutions.”

Brown said he is ecstatic about this year’s discussion because students can say what is on their minds.

“The last time there really wasn’t a forum to share thoughts and opinions,” Brown said.

The panel discussion features Roscoe Hightower, FAMU marketing professor; Ira Bates, chair of the finance department at the School of Business and Industry; Mellori Lumpkin,

Student Government Association vice-president; Sean Mitchell, founder of Chief Financiers Organization and County Commissioner Ramon Alexander.

“These are people who are working on solutions,” Brown said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the university.”

The tour will also travel to Spellman, Morgan State, Benedict College, North Carolina A&T, Howard, and Hampton, all of which are historically black colleges and universities.

“It will be interesting to see what the future has to say about how far we have come and where we have to go,” Dean said.

The tour will also make stops at the University of Missouri, Winston-Salem, and the University of California-Berkley.

Issues to be discussed are, what challenges are facing African-American  communities, what progress has been made with the election of the first black president, and what can be done to fix these issues.

“How far have we come…we want to generate buzz, interest, and awareness around the program,” Nelson said.

The conversation will be filmed and used as a part of the “Black in America 2” series airing on July 22 and 23 at 9 p.m. on CNN.

“We would love for FAMU to be considered as the foundation,” Dean said.