Black Lives Matter forum brings awareness to minorities within black community


The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

In January, seven students at Appalachian State University attended a Black Lives Matter conference at the University of Arizona to discuss and learn about different facets of the movement. On Monday, these students held an open forum at Appalachian State to share what they learned.

The main theme the speakers focused on was the inclusion of groups who may feel excluded within the Black Lives Matter movement, such as women and members of the LGBT community.

“Because of our patriarchal society, black men get the most coverage,” said Victor Moore, a senior graphic design major. “Black men don’t have a monopoly on oppression, but it sometimes seems like that’s the case, because that’s what always gets the coverage.

As Mariah Webber, a senior psychology major, explained, the lack of attention on women within the Black Lives Matter movement is unfortunate because of how central women are to it.

Webber told attendees that the entire movement was founded by three women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.

“Seldom do we think about black women, and that really struck a note in me [when discussed at the conference], because while these black women aren’t being addressed in the news, we are actually forerunning the movement,” Webber said. “To not address those women who are being murdered is a disservice to them, and to the movement as a whole.”

Speakers talked about the added danger of being a black woman in society.

Brie Sciales, a senior sustainable development major, said black women are 22 to 35 percent more likely to be assaulted than white women.

In addition to the role of women within the Black Lives Matter movement, the panelists also addressed the role of the LGBT members of the community

Moore said the life expectancy of black trans women is roughly 35 years old.

“If you identify as something that is not ‘of the norm’, as people like to say, then it’s not taken into any consideration,” said Reginald Gravely, a senior political science major.

The panelists showed attendees that even within the Black Lives Matter movement, various forms of oppression exist.
“We need to include all identities within this greater effort of reinforcing the fact that black life does matter,” said Mary Lyons, a senior art education major. “Black Lives Matter is an overlapping and intersecting movement of movements.”

Story: Tommy Culkin, News Reporter