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College holds series of online forums following nationwide protests

Update | Tuesday, June 9, 2020

During the week of June 1, Royce Carpenter and Michelle Baker, co-chairs of the African-American Employee Resource Group, hosted discussion forums for the Columbus State Community. A team of faculty members assisted in the project, including Charvella McKaye, Amy Delorenzo, Mary Lewis, and Sara Yurkovic.

The forums were organized in response to the senseless death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died at the hands of a Minneapolis officer last month. Carpenter wanted to open up conversations about the racial experiences of not only Black and African Americans in the United States, but all ethnic minorities at Columbus State.

Carpenter points to a quote from James Baldwin, an essayist, playwright, novelist, and voice of the American civil rights movement. Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Carpenter says the quote was the catalyst for bringing the difficult conversations to the entire college community for healing and growth.

During the week, students, staff, faculty, and administrators gathered on Zoom to share their experiences, learn from one another, and start the healing process. The goal is to begin the progression of moving toward a more equitable experience for everyone at Columbus State, regardless of race. Carpenter says there is much to be done, and the hard work must be done collectively.

In all, 458 people attended the forums. Carpenter says, “The turnout shows there is potential for great strides, but it cannot stop with one week of forums.”  She says she is expecting them to be the start of the great work to be done on racial equality at Columbus State!


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