NAACP hosts 10th State of Black Leadership panel

The University of Maryland’s NAACP student chapter  brought local leaders to Hoff Theater on February 11 to discuss issues the African American student body is facing and consider possible solutions.

Among the topics discussed were recent private emails sent from members of an on-campus fraternity containing racist comments that were leaked to social media.

This years panelist included radio personality Angie Ange, Pastor and community leader Rev. Heber Brown III, Black Lives Matter organizer April Goggins, Councilwoman of the College Park Region Dannielle Glaros, and Baltimore activist Joseph Kent. Nominated student panelist Kayla Tarrant, junior public relations major and #UMDsMostWokeProfessor winner Dr. Joseph Richardson were also included on the panel.

Thought-provoking questions about whether or not the black UMD student body should organize and protest, and if so, how, were asked during the panel. Majority agreed that effective organizing could make a big change on our campus.

“We’re not this tiny little number,” Tarrant says about the number of African American students on campus, “We have it in our minds that we are powerless, there’s nothing that we can do.”

She then went on to say, “There are 4,000 of us, and if you look at all students of color we’re 45% of the school. We’re not a small part of the school. We have the power to make things happen and it is completely up to us whether or not we make that happen”

When Rev. Brown asks students in the audience how far they were willing to go to have their thoughts heard, their response was hesitant.

“In this battle, you’re going to have to give up something. You’re going to have some discomfort and there’s no such thing as easy liberation,” he said.

In closing remarks, Goggins said, “We all have to decide how we feel we want to protest, but we all must protest.”

UMD alumnus and former executive board member of the NAACP student chapter Myles Blount mentions how SOBL has grown throughout the years.

“I remember when SOBL was in a small little room and we were trying to make sure people came and make sure we had the right guests. It’s beautiful that we’re now here at Hoff Theater.”

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