Black Minds Matter hopes to spark dialogue about students of color


A banner for the Black Minds Matter event is set up next to the Black Lives Matter display shown in the Student Center at American River College on March 6, 2019. (Photo by Anthony Barnes)

Anthony Barnes

American River College hosted a Black Minds Matter workshop March 11 that was designed to shed light on the issues that young black men face in the world of education.

The workshop used the public coursework of author and social scientist Jonathan Luke Wood, who is a proponent of uplifting men of color and and helping them overcome the struggles that they may encounter while they are in school.

ARC peer mentor and sociology major Kelvin Burt led the workshop and talked about what drew him to it.

“As a student myself, I know there is a need in creating that awareness in African-American men in education,” Burt said. “I wanted to find out what [Luke Wood] is doing, see if I can apply it and if it makes a difference in someone else’s life or mine.”

The discussion centered around the assumption of criminality that sometimes occurs on college campuses. Some of these presumptions included students being followed on their respective college campuses or in college bookstores by security.

Tanya Anderson, director of the TRIO Student Support Services program, also helped facilitate the workshop. She spoke about why she wanted to be a part of the program.

“They need help; they need the most help on this campus,” Anderson said. “I am super tired of seeing statistics about my brothers.”

Burt also mentioned the problematic attendance rate for African-American males at ARC and why he wants to change it. According to Burt, the attendance rate for African-American males is one of the lowest among student populations at ARC.

“The African-American male academic attendance rate is low and it shouldn’t have to be that way,” Burt said. “We should thrive to try and change it and having that discussion on what we can do inside and outside the classroom.”

The next Black Minds Matter workshop will take place on April 8 and is scheduled to take place in the Student Center Community Room 4 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Both students and staff are encouraged to attend.