On January 29, The Center for Community Growth launched their film series, showing the documentary White Like Me. Before the film, a panel of folks from IUP, the NAACP, and others around Indiana County said some words. They each said why they were at the event and had some general thoughts on the main focus of the night, white privilege.
Below are recaps of what some of the panelists said.
Austin Gibson – IUP student leader
One time when Austin was a kid, he and his friends went to a park to throw a football around. Suddenly, a police officer pulled up and starting yelling at the kids to put their hands on the cop car.
Austin was about 7 years old. And he is black.
The cop said someone had reported that some kids were being raucous and breaking things. He said Austin and his friends met the descriptions. The officer said he would let them go “this time,” took the boys’ football, and drove off.
Austin also talked about how he founded and runs Our Journey To The Future Mentoring Program, “a mentoring group for young men and women to set them up for success in their future,” as described on its Facebook page.
His speech was powerful and, unfortunately, I didn’t record it or take down quotes. But he ended by saying a variation of: My name is Austin Gibson, I was born in 1995, and I’m not going away.
Tieshay Skinner – IUP student leader
When she was substitute teaching, she noticed the unique textbooks that the school had. They were unique because most of the people portrayed in the books were black.
She made the point that white people have the privilege of looking at themselves everywhere they go, whether it’s in a magazine, an ad, in textbooks, or basically anywhere else. And that black girls and women, like her, do not have that convenience.
President Driscoll – IUP president
The highlight, for me, of President Driscoll’s speech was when he said that we often assume we know what’s best for others based on what we think is best for ourselves. And he said white people can often do this to black people.
(Read the Indiana Gazette’s recap of the event here)