“How can someone consider themselves to be a part of a chain, if they are not a link?”


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Mia Adduci.

The Black Lives Matter flag, West Haven, Feb 1, 2023.

The Black Lives Matter flag currently flies over the German Club on the East side of campus for the second year in a row, following the flag raising ceremony hosted last Wednesday.
That morning, numerous individuals from across the campus community gathered together in light of the start of Black History Month.
The opening speaker at the event was Khristian Kemp-Delisser, the director of the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion, who spoke on some societal trends in the current day. “Some observations I made recently are that voting levels [from] the Black community haven’t been as high as [during] the Obama administration,” said Kemp-Delisser. “Memphis, as you know from the Black civil rights era, is roiling from a spectacular failure of authority and break of [public] trust.”
Kemp-Delisser introduced Interim President Sheahon Zenger, who said, “I look around the platform here and appreciate everyone [for] coming out in the cold and joining us. I look forward to this moment. I can’t help but reflect on the last couple of weeks of honoring Dr. [Martin Luther King Jr.], and particularly our interface service where we heard from so many people of different backgrounds.”
Linda Copney-Okeke, the director of the Accessibility Resource Center and winner of the university’s Philip H. and Susan S. Bartels Advocacy, Leadership and Service Award, was also present at the event. After addressing the audience, Copney-Okeke introduced Donald Moses, a university alumnus who graduated in 1980.
“We have had more than enough of our sense of awareness for Black Lives Matter within the past four or five years,” said Moses.

Donald Moses addresses the crowd, West Haven, Feb 1, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Kat Swistak.)

He told students to “reach out to alumni; develop a rapport; build a network of mentors. How can someone consider themselves to be a part of a chain, if they are not a link?”
Kemp-Delisser highlighted this question and said “that’s going to stick with me,” before introducing Black Student Union (BSU) President Ariana Eastwood, a senior forensic science major.
“As a Black woman majoring in forensic science, I face the harsh reality of pursuing a career within the criminal justice system,” said Eastwood. “Interestingly enough, a year ago today, I discussed how the system consists of discrimination, racism [and] oppression to historically marginalized groups,” she said. “This is indeed still an issue but it is still difficult to fathom these issues because… people who should be fighting together, are oftentimes against one another.”
The crowd then paused for a moment of silence to “acknowledge the life of Tyre Nichols and the many other African American men and women who have died due to police brutality.”
The BSU president talked about the Recognized Student Organization which she currently leads, informing the audience that it was started in 1973 after the Civil Rights movement. On the intentions and missions of the BSU, Eastwood said it serves as “a forum for faculty, staff and students to have an open discussion about a variety of crucial issues.”
She ended her speech by saying that the flag raising “cannot, and should not, be the end of this university’s call for justice.”
Eastwood and the BSU Vice President Aaron Brooks, a junior marketing major, then raised the flag.
For more Black History Month events, check out the message titled “University Celebrates Black History Month through February” under the “Happening on Campus” tab on MyCharger.