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New 'Black Lives Matter' chapter starts in spring semester


Black Lives Matter was officially recognized last month by Central Michigan University.

Alyssa Greene, a Hesperia senior and group organizer, said the registered student organization is preparing for its first semester in action starting in Spring 2017.

Detroit junior Jazmyn Williams, the chapter’s president, said Black Lives Matter is a student organization that caters to the needs of all minorities on campus, not only black students.

“The biggest goal for us is to make sure we bring positivity and support to the campus, especially for those of color or anyone who has faced injustice of any type,” Williams said.

Another goal of the group is to educate people on campus about new-age racism, Greene said. She added that the executive board met on Sunday to discuss plans for the semester, which may include a trip to Washington D.C. to protest the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Williams called Trump a “racist” and “sexist” for his campaign. She wants to provide a platform for minority groups to voice their opinions against the comments of the president-elect.

“As a black woman on campus, I feel like it’s my purpose to comfort those who are scared, especially now that we have a new president who doesn’t have the best interest of any black or brown person,” Williams said.

Andrew Blom, an associate professor of philosophy, said the group formed after he was a member of Community Action for Black Lives Matter — an initiative of the Mount Pleasant Area Diversity Group.

In fall 2015, Blom and the Community Action for Black Lives Matter started a community dialogue following high-profile police brutality and injustice cases across the country. The initiative received interest from students who are now part of the RSO.

In November, Greene sought out students interested in starting the campus organization. They met in the Bovee University Center to discuss goals and expectations for the new chapter. Later, 10 people did on-the-spot interviews to make their case for leadership positions in the group.

“We took a risk on each other,” Williams said. “I think that’s the most important part of our group so far because we believe in each other enough to put ourselves in these positions.”

Williams said the focus of the chapter is predominantly providing a platform for minorities on campus, but the group is open to people of all ethnicities. If other organizations support the Black Lives Matter chapter on campus, Williams said it will support them.

“I feel I can help the campus because I feel very passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the rest of our executive board,” Williams said. “We feel very passionate about what we represent and we want to make sure we are seen in the right light.”

Blom and Amanda Garrison, a professor in the sociology department, serve as advisers to the group.

“We have an opportunity on a college campus to engage in educational activities and help students to find ways to get involved and make a difference,” he said.

Those interested in joining can email blacklivesmattercmu@gmail.com.

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About Evan Sasiela

Evan Sasiela is the University Editor at Central Michigan Life and a senior at Central Michigan ...

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