Prominent stakeholders of Florida A&M University vocalized leadership roles, political policies, and entrepreneurship to students at the #ForTheCulture: The State of Black America Town Hall, Black History Month Convocation on Fri., Feb. 9 in Lee Hall auditorium.
“There are three basic tenants to a plan of action to orchestrate change. First, you have to take initiative. Second, you have to follow up. Then, you follow through,” said Florida State Representative, Ramon Alexander.
Alexander’s politically driven disposition embodied the theme “For The Culture” at FAMU’s annual Black History Convocation. Jacquell Lawson moderated the panel with speakers Larry Rivers, Ph.D., Alexandria Washington, David H. Jackson Jr., Ph.D., and Alexander.
The panel revolved around forming a plan of action for students to follow in being successful and politically inclined to make smart decisions. The speakers at the convocation emphasized on the paradigm shift the “microwave millennial generation” needs to be cognizant of for the future.
“There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we think about money. How do we become producers and simply not consumers?” Rivers rhetorically asked.
On the panel, Rivers discussed the issue of Black people training to become consumers more than being a producer. The quest to change that begins with students taking on the challenge of building their own businesses and empires. This conversation led to the panelist discussing the graduate rate at FAMU and how students need to be consistent with their studies.
Jackson believes that students need to follow a strategic plan to fill the economic gap in society.
“It is important of you all to come to this institution and be serious about the opportunity that is in front of you. First graduate from college, then go to graduate school. After that, you need to go and purchase a home. Because homeownership accounts for the largest percentage of the gap in terms of the disparity between Black and white people in the United States of America.”
The panelist challenged the audience by discussing responsibilities and priorities of managing your money and self-image in the workforce. Materialism has affected most students in ways where they do not invest their money.
Jackson implied advice that students need to invest their money in building a brand, a business and owning a home. He incorporated that students need to be cognizant of their surroundings, articulating and fixating their language with proper etiquette in every environment because “you are a product of FAMU.”
As the inclusive panel discussion wrapped up, students had questions for the panelist to answer. The idea of sexism playing a role in our society was a topic chosen to discuss. Washington took ownership in expressing her thoughts on sexism.
“We have to be in the classroom willing to tell our friends about their inappropriate outfits. We have to take our role in this too,” Washington said. “We have to speak up, allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable in speaking up to help someone else who cannot.”
The Black History Convocation was well assembled with significant speakers who tackled political and present issues in our society. The stakeholders encouraged students to step into leadership roles and fill the economic gap in our society.
“Sometimes we have to be almost perfect to move through this system,” Rivers said.