MU hosts discussion one year after racial tension on campus

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri invited Dr. Marc Lamont Hill to speak and facilitate discussion about the racial climate of MU's campus on Friday evening.

The event was titled, "Race & Social Justice: #OneYearLater" and was open to everyone to discuss and reflect on racial tension on campus, particularly the events that happened in fall 2015.

The Legion of Black Collegians' Gospel Choir, Indie Poets, Talking Drum and Phi Mu Alpha Barbershop Quartet performed before the discussion.

Chair of Black Studies Dr. Stpehanie Shonekan said everyone was asked to wear "Mizzou attire" to emphasize the community aspect of the event. 

"We wanted to do this event because we recognized that a year had gone by, and we wanted to keep the memory of all the hard work our students had done in our conscience," Shonekan said.

Darneisha Coleman, a member of Concerned Student 1950, said major movements always assess their progress at a certain point, usually at one year, and the community wanted to look at the progress and what still needs to be done during this discussion.

"I think it's important that we have Dr. Hill here to give us some outside perspective. As an outsider looking in, he will help give us some new perspective," Coleman said. 

Hill started his speech by remembering Mike Brown and others who have died in police shootings.

"We also have to look at the forms of violence we experience every day," Hill said.

He said he wanted the discussion about race to continue, but also to remember and reshape the image of the events that happened last year.

"We want to understand the past, but not be prisoners of the event," Hill said.

"We wanted to reframe the narrative and make sure that we tell a story of good work for this campus, for all of us. We feel that looking back at the past can be helpful," Shonekan said.

Before the discussion, Coleman said she hoped they would talk about the difference in response times to racial incidents on campus.

"The difference between the univeristy's response last year during the Payton Head incident, it took them way too many days to respond, and this year's incident with Delta Upsilon they responded almost immediately. So I think that it's important to look at the two incidents a year later and examine the progress that has been made," she said. 

Several faculty members, former students and current students joined in on the discussion.

Filming was not allowed during the discussion part of the event.