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Drive-In for Black Lives: A Student Organized Movement for Action

By: Jacquelyn Smiley

Awareness. That was Caribbean Students Union (CSU) president Juliacie Dieuvel’s goal for the October 24 event Drive-In for Black Lives. In collaboration with Black Students United (BSU), African Students Association (ASA) and Levermore Global Scholars (LGS), the event was something new for Adelphi. With Black Lives Matter being at new heights not only in the media, but also becoming a larger part of daily conversation, this awareness could not come at a better time.

While facing a global pandemic on top of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, people all over the world, including Adelphi students, are finding ways to make their voices heard. Black Lives Matter is a human rights issue, and there is a new sense of responsibility to educate people on surrounding topics. With black men and women losing their lives every day, it is important to speak up on these issues. CSU, as well as the other organizations helping to host the event, think that all students, not just a specified group, will benefit from this space.

CSU's eboard

“This event will not only help to educate their peers further on Black Lives Matter and other social issues from the news, but this drive-in will also allow for new conversations within the Adelphi community,” said Amanda Capasso, president of LGS.

Kelsie Lewis, CSU’s event coordinator, said, “We wanted to host this event because during times like this African-American students not only at Adelphi, but all over the world are being affected by systemic racism and police brutality. The purpose of this event was to create awareness on Adelphi’s campus on Black Lives Matter, as well as be a safe space for students affected by this. We hope that students, faculty and staff who come to this event will walk out more educated on the issues African Americans face, but also listen to their peers to hear their stories.”

Just like Take Back the Night, which occurs every fall, CSU will be creating not only a learning atmosphere but one of acceptance.

CSU included a series of video speakers, including Sentwali Bakari, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of students; Chotsani West, the executive director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion; Athena Bressack, the assistant director for the Center of Student Involvement; and several other Adelphi peer leaders.

With a screen set up and a radio station provided so participants tuned in from their cars, it was a way for everyone to come together during Covidl. Public safety managed to space everyone out with a 6-foot-plus distance.

BSU's eboard from left to right: Monique Marcelle, Sariah Principal, Teddy-Ann Miles and Jacquelyn Smiley

During a surprise clip from the Oprah show, participants were able to see how Black people were discriminated against before the term Black Lives Matter was coined. With the comparison of brown eyes people being superior to blue eyed people, it was able to show a different perspective on why discrimination is not okay. The event ended with not only an understanding of what is happening to Black people in America, but a special tribute to #EndSARS for the people of Nigeria.

If you are interested in attending a CSU meeting, they meet on Thursdays at 7 pm via Zoom. These meetings are open to all who are interested in joining.

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