AKA week starts with panel discussion on black family

The Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. hosted a panel discussion on the state of the black family in Perry Paige auditorium Monday to kick off AKA week and black history month.

The event emcee was Vince Evans, a Florida A&M University alumni.

There were various panelists, such as Maurice Johnson, a professor in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication; Staci Holloway, a spring 2011 initiate of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha; Melvina Wilson an adjunct professor and healthcare professional from FAMU health services and more.

The panel discussion focused on major points that affect the state of the black family today. The topics included family, education, resources, integration, resources, voting and the influence of technology.

Ervin Donaldson, a  third-year architecture student from Cairo, Ga., said he really enjoyed the event and feels that he wants to shed more light on the issues discussed.     

“I liked everything that was talked about tonight, a lot of different topics that we need to talk about,” Donaldson said. “We’re in a small city with three colleges with black people we need to have this discussion with everybody. I would like to see us bridge the gap because I took a lot of knowledge that needs to be shared.”

According to panel, the rate of unwed African-American mothers is 74 percent. In 2014, 25 percent of African-Americans were unemployed and receiving food stamps, and that the school-to-prison pipeline affects black males 40-50 percent.

Each panelist gave his or her respective responses and shared experiences from their backgrounds, family life and pursuing higher education. In doing so the panelist encouraged students to support, uplift and give back to the black community.

Demetrius Burkes,  a panelist at the event, said he hoped the panel was informative.

“The event was great,” Burkes said. “Hopefully, the students left here with a sense of urgency to take responsibility of their own actions and giving back to the community because that’s what its about. I am grateful to have been apart and been being able to tell my story.”

Nadiyah Knight, a spring 2009 initiate said she was happy to return to FAMU.

“ I was delighted to be able to give back to my chapter and my university,” Knight said.