Students should do more than talk

Florida A&M University’s Lee Hall was filled to capacity on the night of the State of Black Student Summit. Students seemed happy with the message of each speaker on the night of the summit and demonstrated their joy by a standing ovation. Students even spoke on issues that directly affect them as a whole. Many of the sensitive topics had not been discussed on FAMU’s campus before.

My concern is whether our students will learn from that summit and use the information to better themselves and others. Are FAMU students really concerned about the state of the black student?

Recently, William Bennett, former U.S Secretary of Education, made a statement concerning blacks. He said, “If you want to stop crime, abort all black babies.” This quote is critical to the black student.

An on-air personality that stigmatizes blacks with the affliction of crime is something to protest. Yes, students did form a protest rally. However, like the State of the Black Student Summit, the protest was planned and fueled by members of FAMU’s Student Government Association.

From my perspective, individuals who are concerned with the condition of black students are few. For example, there are only a handful of students who compete for leadership roles on campus. These students understand what’s destroying the black community and want to end the negative perception of historically black colleges.

If only a small percentage of FAMU’s student body is concerned with the state of the black student, then the future of the black student looks very dim.

Being that I am a black student, attending an HBCU is a great accomplishment. However, just because you are in attendance does not mean that you are aware. If you attend events such as the Summit, I challenge you to take responsibility and teach someone else what you learned and what you will know. Tommy Dortch said, “If you know better, do better.”

Since blacks are stereotyped in the media everyday, downgraded and stricken with self-deprecation, it is the educated black person’s obligation to end all stereotypes.

Students please motivate yourselves to inform each other about AIDS, diabetes, drugs and other issues affecting the black community. Although, events such as the State of the Black Student Summit are interesting and educational, it should not take an event to get you motivated to learn about the struggles of your own community.

The buzz from the State of the Black Student Summit should continue throughout your school career and you should take what you have learned and use it in every aspect of your life.

LaToya Russell is a third-year public relations student from Charlotte. She can be reached at