(from left) Freeman Bosley Jr., Reddit Hudson, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed
by Reid Chunn
Constitution Day is a day mandated by the state of Missouri that all public universities must participate in. At Harris-Stowe, a discussion panel takes place where contemporary events and topics are covered. This year’s theme was, “The State of African-Americans in the St. Louis Metropolitan Region”. This week will make the fourth time I have had this discussion, each time with a different group. Constitution Day offered an avenue to activate our peers and further contribute to “the cause.” These discussions are absolutely vital, but begs the question, how tired can we get?
Three knowledgeable panelists visited the campus: Senator Jamilah Nasheed (representing Missouri’s 5th Senatorial District), Mr. Freeman Bosley, Jr. (first African-American to be elected as Mayor of St. Louis), and Redditt Hudson (co-founder of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform, and Accountability (NCLEOJ)).
The panelists answered questions from the moderator, Harris-Stowe’s Terry Daily-Davis, about issues in the black community and, more importantly, explained solutions. Mr. Bosley spoke about the protesters disrupting the economic flow of various neighborhoods, which creates conversation regarding societal oppression. He went on to say that we need to use the “energy used to stop money….[and] use it to make money.” These principles outline that power in this day and age is funded by money: those who have power generally have a common denominator. Mr. Bosley went on to say that “economics is the best way to lift [the black] community up.”
Senator Nasheed emphasized that St. Louis has almost perfected its systematic oppression. She gave examples such as: overturning the minimum wage and allowing background checks to isolate those with charges, leaving them with few opportunities to improve, consequently creating a vicious cycle.
Redditt, a former police officer and member of the elite intelligence squad, commented on the institutional racism that is propagated in this city. He went on to clarify what the job of the police should be. Rather than interfere with the constitutional right of protesting, they are only to ensure the safety of the protesters from persons who wish to disrupt this right, such as anarchists who believe that they can penetrate the protests, cause damage, and scatter. This only leads to a negative stigma surrounding the protests.
Overall, Constitution Day was a success. It allowed students to understand the current social situation of Blacks in St. Louis, Missouri (one of the most segregated cities in the United States of America). As students of this Historically Black University, we can, and should, step up to support one another. Reform is more than feet on the pavement, it is educating ourselves and holding one another to higher standards. Creating an uplifting community, a proud family.