Black Lives Do Matter


By Torya Moore

Black Lives Matter Forum held on campus to create safe space to discuss challenges between community and cops.

The movement Black Lives Matter, according to the group’s website, was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman who was later acquitted of second-degree murder.

“Rooted in the experiences of black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, Black Lives Matter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-black racism that permeates our society,” according to the website.

“When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadcasting the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state,”  according to the website.

According to Pew Research Center’s July 2016 report titled “How Americans View the Black Lives Matter Movement” roughly four-in-10 Americans support the movement.

The event was held Nov. 2 in the June Whitley Student Lounge inside College of Southern Nevada’s North Las Vegas campus. Approximately 60 people were in attendance. A panel discussion of four community leaders of different ethnicities led the discussion.

William Scott, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s captain, said the movement is a positive one. “I think that anytime you can bring two groups that may have some different opinions together and have those respectable conversations where I can open my ears and hear what the community is saying and vice versa, I think that is always going to be helpful and a benefit to both: the law enforcement and the community.”

Scott is an African American on the police force and has a unique perspective of what it is like to be black in America. “I have an African American son. My son is a police officer who grew up hating the police. Every time he left the house I told him ‘I need you to come home with two hands, 10 fingers, 10 toes and two eyes’,” Scott explained.

Adjunct instructor Jennifer Weber, formerly Hixson, said, “This movement is not anti-cop.” She explained the media has its own way of flipping the meaning of the movement and making it a negative thing.

20161102_173517Chief of Police of the North Las Vegas Police Department Alexander Perez participated on the panel. He mentioned he thought the movement began back in 1991 when Rodney King was beaten by four officers. It was one of the first assaults of a black man caught on tape and the public outcry was huge.

Dina Neal, Democratic member of the Nevada Assembly representing district seven, also was on the panel. She gave a powerful commentary on what it is like to be a black woman in society and how stereotypes are incorrect.

Humberto Robles, CSN student, shared his opinions on the event. “This is actually my first event [about Black Lives Matter]. I have never been at an event like this. I am glad it was a topic that affected everyone.” He appreciated the diversity of the panel giving different perspectives.

CSN student Darrell Williams, who attended the forum, said, “I thought a lot of people and the parties here were a lot more humanized especially with all the officers and sheriffs. They brought a perspective to the subject.”

A final note in the panel discussion was that black lives do matter along with all other lives. The movement is not meant to diminish anyone but instead elevate compassion for everyone.

%d bloggers like this: