‘Black excellence’ takes center stage

Photo courtesy redbubble.com

Florida A&M’s chapter of the NAACP and Mighty Melodic Bloody-Up Upsilon Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity hosted a virtual seminar Wednesday focusing on the topic of Black excellence. It was a terrific way for students to start off Black History Month and dwell on the rich history and impact of African Americans.

The seminar kicked off in an engaging way by having attendees join a Kahoot game with Black history trivia. Questions such as, what couple turned the ban on interracial marriage, who was the first Black man to run for president, when was the NAACP founded, and who were the founders of the Black Panther Party were front and center.

With nearly 50 students in attendance for the Zoom event, an open discussion allowed students to talk about what Black excellence means to them, how the pandemic has affected Black people, the horrifying reality of police brutality in America, and the power of Black voices when voting.

“Accountability” was a term that came up frequently during the discussion when speaking on the topic of abusive law enforcement and the United States now having a new administration in power. Some participants shared how they believe the abuse cast upon people of color from police will not change unless the oppressed and allies of the oppressed hold them accountable for their actions.

Sydney Aitcheson, the first vice president of the FAMU NAACP chapter, said, “I want to manifest that it will end,” when asked how she felt about police brutality and when it would stop. “But it will never end until we continue to hold them accountable for what they’re doing and continuing to just bring awareness to the situations that are happening. When something happens, share it! When something happens, speak on it! Continue to speak out, share, march, do whatever you need to do to bring awareness. We can’t continue to let these things happen and let them go unknown.”

Dequarius Gilbert, a first-year health leisure and fitness student, was able to tune into the seminar and engage in the hot discussions.

“What I enjoyed most about the seminar is that I was able to talk with my colleagues and see that we view the same problems and situations the same,” said Gilbert.

With Black excellence being the main topic, the mention of Vice President Kamala Harris was not too far behind.

When speaking about the recent presidential election, a participant shared her thoughts: “We have a female VP, a Black female, an HBCU grad. This shows us that it can be done. This literally says, ‘You can do it!’”