Amplifying Black Voices concludes, looks to future

Julia Barton ® Staff Writer |
Photo by Mansoor Ahmad ® Media Director |

As Black History Months concludes the Amplifying Black Voices Project hosted its final event Monday night, discussing how local residents can be allies to the Black community moving forward. 

Having the main take away from the discussion being centered around “I see you, I hear you, and I believe you,” other topics such as transracial adoption, cultural appropriation, and the idea of colorism were talked about.

Laura Riness, who is a transracial adoptee and Mankato resident, touched on her experience growing up with parents of a different race. 

“I was born in Kentucky and was in two foster homes before I was adopted before the age of 1. I was a part of the statistics when Minnesota took the lead in the United States of white parents adopting black children. Looking back I have a strong stance on having the child being raised by relatives, if not the parents, so that they are with their own lineage and culture,” Riness stated. 

Cultural appropriation and double standards were also discussed. 

“It really is frustrating when it seems like Black people have to contemplate wearing a certain hairstyle in fear that they might not get the job during an interview and then seeing white people with braids being praised on social media,” community member Janet Jennings, one of many speakers on the panel, said. 

“Another aspect is how so many Black people are still in prison over drug charges for the use of marijuana while other states and white people are legally selling it, making a profit from it, and even having CBD stores that sell the same drug yet in a different form,” Jennings continued.

Lastly, the idea of colorism and how it affects our society was brought to light as many people from all races globally can experience this. 

Colorism was defined in the webinar as, “A product of imperialism and slavery which affects every community that is non-white. It allows certain people to get ahead in society or receive better treatment based on their closeness to white features.” 

Associated with lighter eyes, lighter skin and labeled as more favorable in the eyes of society, colorism can come into play for many races which can lead to inequality. 

The Amplifying Black Voices Project plans to keep pushing out information in the future, including details about how anyone can become an ally to the Black community or call out racism when they see it.

Several upcoming events, while not technically part of the Amplifying Black Voices Project, will complement the project. At 11:30 a.m. Thursday via Zoom Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. presents, “American is Changing: Stay Woke!” Link can be found on the African American Affairs website.

Looking toward April, the Pan African Conference will host its 45th conference on April 6-7 led by Dr. Michael T. Fagin. 

According to the conferences website, it is “committed to developing and enhancing the leadership skills in our collegiate Black young adults, as well as providing opportunities for academic scholars, professionals, and community members to discuss issues that affect descendants of Africa on a local, national and international level.” This conference is free and open to the public.

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