By: Ila Wilborn
As we advance through our lifetimes, we subconsciously hit benchmark ages that measure our maturity with each coming years. At the age of ten, we are excited to be in the double digits club. At thirteen, we are officially teenagers and are considered mature enough to see those cool PG-13 movies. At the age of sixteen, we are encouraged to get a driver’s license. At eighteen, we are then considered young adults and are able to register to vote and enlist in the United States Army. When we get to twenty-one years old, we officially become adults and are able to purchase and consume alcohol… legally that is.
In modern times, it may seem as though each generation of America’s children have less and less time to enjoy childhood. In fact, it is quite common to see parents soothe, or somewhat hypnotize, a screaming child with a colorful touch screen game.
Unfortunately, the young children of America have witnessed some of the most heinous crimes with their own eyes, and in the most unthinkable places: our learning institutions. One would never anticipate going to school and becoming a victim of gun violence, such as the massacre at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University which claimed the lives of 32 students and administrators and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which claimed 26 lives.
In February, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students witnessed 17 lives taken in their school when a student used a semi-automatic rifle to kill his fellow classmates and administrators in what became the deadliest high school shooting in America.
After the tragedy, many students at the school demanded stricter gun laws by calling out the politicians who offered condolences to them and their families. In a push for change, the students traveled from Parkland to Tallahassee and met with the students at Leon County High School.
The students marched to the Florida State Capitol, and as a result of their protests and social media call to action with the #NeverAgain movement, Florida legislature signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act into law.
Because of this story, an argument can be made that the voting age should be lowered strictly because America’s youth made a change in legislature after experiencing their own tragedies.
Noah Brown, an engineering student at Florida A&M University, feels as though the voting age should not be lowered. In his opinion, younger teens can easily be influenced, which could make risky voters. “It could cause a weird dynamic where minors are voting at odds with their parents,” he said. “It makes a very complex dynamic to me when you are still considered their dependent.”
Brown also expressed concern about other elections, specifically “ things that may not directly impact them monetarily like income and taxes,” he said.
According to a study by Sara B. Johnson at the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the brain’s functions such as “planning, working memory, and impulse control, are among the last areas of the brain to mature.” In her findings, Dr. Johnson describes how higher cognitive processes are coordinated by the prefrontal cortex which produces executive functioning, otherwise stern decision making.
At a younger age, a sixteen or seventeen year old could experience a lower level of executive functioning, which in turn could lead to, “difficulty with planning, attention, using feedback, and mental inflexibility, all of which could undermine judgment and decision making,” according to Dr. Johnson’s research.
Jack Levine, advocate and founder of 4Generations Institute, expresses that while he is a passionate advocate, he is also a practical one. “I believe that we should not bite off more than we can chew when it comes to reform around voting age,” he said.
In a slightly different approach, Levine is an advocate for younger teens to vote for some offices. “The two offices in Florida which have the most direct affect on young people, particularly students, are school board members and superintendents,” he said.
Levine believes that “students are particularly interested where they are direct participants in the policy, and of course they are the direct recipients of all the decision making made by school board and superintendents.”
So for now, it seems as though science, advocates and students feel as though the voting age should stay the same.
By: Trentqual Rhone
There is something to be said about an institution, where the president and the janitor looks alike.Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are truly families, as faculties, staffs, and administrations alike, go above and beyond to provide, an already disadvantaged group, a nurturing environment, which is something many of us have never had. Personal and professional relationships, built on trust, mutual respect, and genuine support, are formed, which in turn, promotes intimate and often life changing conversation.
At our institutions, Black scholarship and Black excellence is exalted, as our artwork is displayed, our businesses are encouraged and our history and achievements -which have been hidden and ignored- is highlighted and discussed in a raw and unfiltered manner.
HBCUs serve as safe havens, as it is one of the few places we can be unapologetically Black.
We uplift our own to instill diligence, dignity, and a strong sense of self. Our men are viewed as more than sexual fetishes and praised for more than their athletic abilities. Our women are celebrated, and not silenced, for the use of their minds and voices.
It is unfortunate that the value of our institutions are still in question, especially when the opposition knows our worth. Still, the evidence is clear: “HBCUs, though underfunded, overproduce.”
Dr. King, the face of the Civil Rights Movement, graduated from Morehouse College. Thurgood Marshall and Fred Gray, two of the most influential attorneys in American history, earned their degrees at Howard University and Alabama State University respectively. It wouldn’t be wrong to refer to the Greensboro Sit-ins as the North Carolina A&T Sit-ins, considering the fact that the four men who organized the protests were all students at North Carolina A&T University.
In modern times, HBCUs, particularly HBCU undergraduate programs, still produce Black excellence. North Carolina A&T University and Tennessee State University are among the top producers of Black engineers and Black teachers respectively.
Yet, if our institutions did not exist, several of the pioneers who made and (or) recorded our history would not have been able to do so. Likewise, people today still would not have the opportunity to attend an institution of higher learning because they do not fit the unreasonable social, economic, and (or) academic requirements to enroll anywhere else.
Therefore, since Black people, as a unit, will always matter, Black students, Black education, and Black institutions will always matter!
FAMU Alum, Andrew Gillum, becomes the first black man to the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor
By: Ila Wilborn
Tallahassee Mayor and Florida A&M University alumnus, Andrew Gillum, made history Tuesday night as he received the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor. In what was considered an “unlikely win” by many opposers, Gillum secured the nomination with 34.3% of the votes, according to the New York Times. Gillum is no stranger to historical feats. While serving as FAMU’s Student Government Association President in 2001, Gillum became the first student to serve on the FAMU Board of Trustees. In 2003, while still attending FAMU, he became the youngest ever to be elected to the Tallahassee City Commission, at just 23 years old.
“I cannot thank enough my Florida A&M University family who have held me up all throughout
this race,” Gillum said in his victory speech Tuesday night. “I sincerely believe that what is going to deliver us to victory in November is the fact that there are every day hard working people in this state who believe that they deserve a voice in our government too, and we’re going to give it to them,” he said.
FAMU students played a major role in supporting their fellow Rattler, Gillum. “FAMU helped
Gillum win through exposure. Being able to reach the youth and the African American vote was
a huge success for him considering he was in fourth place a week before securing the
nominee,” Zaran Smith, a current FAMU student said. Gillum’s historical win brings positive attention to the university and its current and former students. “It shows FAMU grads and any student of color that anything is possible. It’s a new horizon for FAMU students, it also sheds a national light on FAMU as a prestiges university,” Jabari Brown, a recent FAMU graduate said. Many students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities, HBCUs, have often felt that society does not treat them the same as their Primarily White Institutions, PWI, counterparts. “We’re continuously told that we don't meet the status quo. There are many times that we’re often discouraged and intimidated by PWIs and this is just a reality check and it brings us the realization that black excellence is real,” Cierra Thomas, a current FAMU student said. “This is important for HBCU students especially because it shows that we can. Even coming from an HBCU where were underrated, often doubted by the masses. We still can run a race with the PWIs and come out on top,” said FAMU student Onyx Franklin.
Gillum’s focus is on criminal justice reform, education, women’s rights, gun safety, expanding
healthcare, environmental protection, among many other issues that can be found on his official
campaign website. “My name on the ballot is simply a vessel, it’s simply the name. But what is underneath that name are all the issues that we care so deeply about,” Gillum said.
“The truth is, that these aren't republican or democratic issues, the job of the Governor of the
state of Florida is to do what is in the best interest of the people of the state of Florida. I look
forward to being that governor,” he said. Gillum’s platforms resonated with many FAMU students, prompting them to support him. “I believe Andrew Gillum deserved my vote one because of his ability to relate to me,” Smith said.
“Not only because of his skin color, but because his work ethic is what got him his nominee, not
a wealthy upbringing or social status. Two, because of his progressive platform on policies
pertaining to marijuana, taxing rich corporations, for education and abolishing ICE,” Smith said.
ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is currently under fire for the separation of
thousands of children of illegal immigrants from their parents.
FAMU student, Lyric Porter explains why Gillum’s platform is so important to her. “It promotes
the needs of everyday people,” she said.
“He is trying to make the quality of life for working class individuals better and less stressful. He
wants to provide higher paying jobs, sufficient education in public schools, and more affordable
healthcare which are all major concerns of average Floridians,” said Porter.
“I voted for him because he wants to be of service to the individuals he encounters on a daily
basis and make sure more programs are accessible to them and their families.” she said.
After Gillum’s win, President Donald Trump took to his Twitter page to call Gillum a “failed
Socialist,” who “has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city.”
Andrew Gillum responded with what he feels the state of Florida needs in a Governor.
ABC’s First Coast News writer, Jackson Puckett, reported in an article, “While Tallahassee and
Leon County continue to have the highest crime rate in Florida, the total number of crimes
actually decreased during Gillum’s term.”
Trump endorsed Republican nominee, Ron DeSantis, was a guest on FOX News when he said,
“the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with
huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.” After Trump and DeSantis’ remarks, Gillum was recently the subject of a racist robocall that went out over the state in which a man pretending to be Gillum said, “We Negroes...done made mud huts while white folk waste a bunch of time making their home out of wood and; stone,” reported the Washington Post. The ad was paid for by The Road to Power, a white supremacist and neo-Nazi group. Though there are many opposed to supporting Andrew Gillum, he has still has garnered over one hundred endorsements by community organizations and political leaders, most notably,
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, fellow FAMU Alumnus Florida Rep. Ramon Alexander, and
recently, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. On November 6th, Gillum and DeSantis will face off in the Florida Governor race. “This is not my moment, this is our moment,” Gillum said.
By: Kaylin McGlothen
President of Dillard University Dr. Walter Kimbrough, better known as The Hip Hop Prez, launched a lecture series that invites guests to the campus of Dillard University to talk about
relevant topics in our society. This series is free and open to the public. Last year’s guests, such as Keke Palmer, Remy Ma, and Leslie Brown, were brought over to speak at no cost to the university. A couple of other guests within the last year include Angela Rye, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Gabrielle Union, Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, Jamele Hill, and Sheba Turk. The community is expecting a plethora of other popular socialites.
Going into its sixth season, Fall 2018 continues the series with its first guest of the year, Tarana Burke. In the introduction, Hip Hop Prez acknowledges the lack of conversation about important problems in our communities. Why do we not speak on certain topics if we KNOW they are a problem? His answer was, “Because there is a wide range of issues that we don’t fully understand, are reluctant to discuss, or
don’t pay enough attention to.” Tarana Burke was a little brown girl that grew up in a strictly pro-black household in Harlem, New York. She grew up with the struggle of being abused by her mother’s boyfriend. This experience aided in her commitment to serve. At 14 years old, she became apart of 21st Century’s youth group to be a community organizer. Her first organized event was against the current U.S President, Donald Trump, in his infamous Central Park Jogger Case. Burke admitted that her role with 21st Century was a way to hide from the reality of her sexual assault.
During a leadership camp for boys and girls in Selma, Alabama (27% African American population), she became a mentor to a little brown girl she calls Heaven. Heaven confided in Ms.Tarana and told her she was being sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. It was all too familiar and it began her acceptance that there in fact IS a problem. As she got further into the project, she began to see more cases of sexual harassment in these young brown children. Seventh grade girls commonly with 21 year-old boyfriends, and girls explaining sexual
encounters their fathers have had while in the same bed sparked a conversation to emphasize the vocabulary to describe this issue; sex·u·al ha·rass·ment. Trying to “stay in her lane” but kind of testing the limits of ‘appropriate conversation’, Tarana Burke witnessed Rape Crisis centers in poorly placed areas reject potential victims without appointments in a community where 27% of black communities get care. In 2007, “Me Too” became Tarana Burke’s staple phrase. On October 15th, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted “#metoo”; this produced movement. The rapid movement of #metoo in the media led her to express global community of survivors coming together, spreading empowerment through empathy, and cultivating joy as a point of personal healing and most importantly, individual healing. Community and individual healing are both necessary. These steps ultimately lead to concrete policies and practices.
During the last year, Tarana has visited 83 colleges (Dillard being the only HBCU) to ignite conversations about the 66% of women with the chance of getting assaulted AGAIN by adulthood and the 9.9% of undergraduate sexual assaults reported on HBCU campuses. We need to become a safe place for this conversation, as a community. Burke emphasizes that #metoo is not just for women looking for recovery! Family secrets will end communities to save the little brown children without a voice. Tarana continues to build #metoo with a $25 million New York Women’s Foundation #MeToo Movement Fund to provide resources for On the Ground groups (survivor groups) that need support.
“Medias make movements and headlines.” - Tarana Burke
Ventress Johnson (TXSU)