The Florida A&M Men of Strength held its second annual mini-conference in the School of Architecture’s atrium Thursday.
The mini-conference brought many issues to light, such as feelings and thoughts that accompany rape. MOST also focused on the sexual violence that occurs on campus and used an interactive panel to convey this message.
The interactive panel consisted of victims and people who knew victims, as well as members of the organization. Pre-written questions and questions from the audience were posed to the panel. Each panel member shared a personal story and opinion on the topic.
The audience was urged to be active in the dialogue and was encouraged to use Twitter to ask questions to make the event even more hands-on. The dialogue between the audience and the panel provided insight from the direct accounts of sexual violence. Panelists gave tips on coping and ways to get victims to share their stories.
Lamere Buchanan, a fourth-year pre-medicine student from Glassboro, N.J., and president of MOST, was proud of the way the event turned out and felt the selections of the panelists made the conversation more compelling.
“It was definitely a success,” Buchanan said. “The panel was really effective. Having two rape victims on the panel helped the audience to empathize with rape victims. Hearing statistics is one thing, but direct accounts are a totally different way of viewing it.”
Channing Ashley, a senior sociology student from Jacksonville, Fla., found the event to be informing and thought-provoking because it brought about necessary dialogue about sexual violence on campus.
“It was great to see young black men take an initiative on the issue of rape when it is something that takes place on major black universities such as our own,” Ashley said. “The conference brought attention to the fact that African-Americans deal with sexual violence as well.”
Cameron McFarland, a fourth-year pre-medicine student from Hollywood, Fla., and secretary of MOST, attributes the success of the event to the students and staff members who contributed their time.
“Of all the events we have done in the past two years, this has been the most successful with all of the sessions and different parts to the conference, as well as the help from FAMU’s staff,” McFarland said. “And the student participation really made the event what it was.”