‘Black Chat’ leads to lively exchanges

Flyer for “FAMU Presents: The Black Chat: A Discussion on Contemporary Social Issues” via Zion Lampley

“How can we as Black people dismantle systemic inequality for future generations?”

Dynasty Moore asked this question Tuesday afternoon to start off “The Black Chat,” a discussion on contemporary social issues in the Black community.

Students gathered via Zoom to listen and include their thoughts on social inequality. This inaugural event featured scholars including Gary Paul, chairman for the Department of History, Political Science, Geography and African American Studies; Gabrielle Gray, a visiting assistant professor for political science at Florida A&M University; and Ernest Hooker, an adjunct professor of military history at North Carolina A&T State University.

The topics for the discussion included systematic inequality, Black Lives Matter, Black political leadership, crime, and political party inclusivity.

The conversation flowed well, giving anyone who joined a chance to speak on each topic.

In Paul’s response to Moore, “We have to be involved and stay engaged. We have to get actively involved in politics. Voting is important but voting is by no means the end all and be all.”

Zion Lampley, a fourth-year political science student with a minor in criminal justice, said he was inspired to organize and host this event through a class he attended at FAMU.

“I had a political science class and during the beginning of each class we would talk about current events. Sometimes the topics led the whole class into discussion. I wanted to have an event that gave students and scholars a platform to talk about these issues within the Black community.”

Gray, one of the scholars chosen to participate, was Lampley’s professor who sparked his idea for the event.

It was not a coincidence that the event took place during Black History Month. Lampley added that it was important that he gained insight from not only scholars who had already received degrees but also the students seeking them.

Student speakers included Kayla Blaine, a psychology student, Ayen “AJ” Bryant, Brielle Levels, Dynasty Moore, Makira Burns, and Ariel Payne, all political science students at FAMU.

“With respect to the persistent racial disparities in wealth, it would take more than 200 years for the average Black household to accumulate the same amount of wealth as their white counterparts.” Moore said while talking about systematic racism.

The scholars and students spoke about holding political leaders accountable when it comes to laws and crimes, on a national and local level.

“If we as Black people come together and say, ‘Ok, there is a certain agenda that we need recognized and focused on by the Democratic and Republican party,’ we then can hold our leaders accountable and make sure they acknowledge our issues,” Gray said.

Hooker added that after the riot that took place in January at the Capitol, it was made clear that the civil war never ended. He then posed a question: “Is the confederate flag the real problem or is it more of the policy and what people think white supremacy really is?”

A student, Jeremy Thomas, chimed in, “It’s definitely not just the flag, it’s the people holding the flag and white supremacy itself.”

Moore said, “Yes it’s more than the flag but the flag has become a representation and reminder of the policies behind it.”

Lampley said he was proud of this inaugural event and that he hopes that it can be on an even bigger scale in the future.

“Everyone provided concrete analysis and historical examples to back up their opinions. I appreciate everyone who participated, they made the event exactly what I hoped for.”