BLM speaker empowers students at BSU event



Students, faculty, and community members gathered in the CME building to hear Rasheed Cromwell discuss the history of Black Lives Matter movement

NICK FISHER, Executive Editor

“When you talk about ‘all lives matter,’ yeah, I get it,”  said Rasheed Cromwell to more than 120 attendees at the Center for Multicultural Education (CME) on Feb. 25. “But that’s not historically, culturally or factually true.”

The event, “Black Lives Matter: Reality versus Perception,” was sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU) as part of the their Black History Month events.

Cromwell discussed the history of the Black Lives Matter movement, which he said emerged out of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.

He argued that concerns with police brutality against blacks, an issue dominating mainstream media in the present, can be traced back to the 1950’s and 60’s.

Cromwell played a video clip of William Parker, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief at the time, discussing the resistance of largely white states in the western United States to an influx of African Americans from the South.

“We didn’t ask these people to come here,” Parker says in the video.

Cromwell discussed modern-day disparities that the black community faces, and how to engage in a conversation about these issues with one another. He said using specific figures, like “blacks are three times more likely than whites to be killed by police” and “one in four African Americans have zero or negative net worth,” helps to teach others about these disparities.

Cromwell is an attorney who graduated from the largest historically black college, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Although his expertise is in black Greek life, he travels across the country speaking on a variety of social justice issues.

Melanie Majeed, vice president of BSU, said she was impressed with a Cromwell’s presentation on sit-ins and “die-ins” at a conference at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and reached out to him as a speaker for Black History Month.

Sarah Christian, senior elementary education major, said much of what Cromwell said reinforced what she already believed.

Christian said “bringing in all cultures … especially those who are underrepresented” is important to her for her future classroom, so she wanted to learn more.

“When we say ‘black lives matter,’ we’re saying ‘all lives matter.’ But we’re not negating other peoples’ struggles … just because we’re empowering our own,” Cromwell said.