BYU Law’s Black Law Student Association hosted a “Black Lives Matter” panel discussion on February 25, 2016, as the final event in a series for Black History Month. The panel brought together a variety of individuals to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and issues facing the African American community.
Panel members consisted of: Jeanetta Williams, president NAACP Salt Lake branch; Reverend France A. Davis, pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City who marched with Martin Luther King, Professor Fred Gedicks, BYU Law professor of constitutional law; Carla Davis-Bey, vice president of the BLSA; Leah Farrell, staff attorney at ACLU; Andrew Evans, BYU Law student; LaShawn Schultz, mental health therapist at Wasatch Family Therapy and adjunct faculty at Salt Lake Community College teaching social work and African-American culture.
“All the data suggests that race matters a lot in our society, and not just to African Americans,” Professor Gedicks said. “So, each of us need to face the reality that racial discrimination is our problem and not just the problem of other people.”
The panel answered questions and discussed whether racism is still a prevalent issue. To which Reverend Davis said, “African American’s make up approximately two percent of the state’s population, but we make up 18 percent of the prison population.”
An African American student in the audience shared a few experiences from her life to illustrate that racism does still exist and then concluded with, “…let’s not be scared anymore, let’s have productive conversations, let’s be curious and gain more information.”