Black Lives Matter Conference takes on racism
Nearly 100 people attended the Black Lives Matter Conference on April 2 at the University’s Water Tower Campus. (See photos from the event on Loyola’s official Flickr gallery.)
The conference, which was organized by three Loyola graduate students, brought people together from across the country to discuss racism, violence against blacks, and other diversity topics. The goal of the gathering, the organizers said, was to build solidarity and educate people about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Organizer Candace Hairston stressed before the conference that the event would touch on several topics—not just police brutality.
“I want to emphasize that all black lives matter,” she said. “So we’re not just focusing on one single issue. We need to talk about other things like black trans women and failing schools and how that affects black lives. We need to have some really honest conversations about society.”
Daniel Guzman, another one of the organizers, said the conference would help students apply what they learn in school to the world around them.
“(We want) to make their education more real and relevant,” he said.
Highlights of the event included workshops, discussions, and a keynote address by activist Precious Davis.
The conference’s open approach meshed well with Loyola’s “Respect the Conversation” theme, which urges people to speak freely on campus—especially about complex issues.
To that end, several Loyola departments helped the students get their conference off the ground. Dana Bozeman, program director of the University’s Water Tower Campus Life department, served as advisor for the event and helped handle some of the logistics.
The third student organizer, Taiwo Adefiyiju, was pleased with the turnout and hopes the conference will grow into something even bigger.
“I thought the event was a great success,” Adefiyiju said. “I really enjoyed the energy from all participants, especially the youth who volunteered and attended.”
“I look forward to seeing how next year’s BLMC leaders execute the next conference,” she said. “This is not the end—it’s a start of a new and great beginning.”