On Feb. 24 Opal Tometi, Co-Founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, gave a lecture at the Lied Center. SUA sponsored the event and had volunteers hand out pamphlets that give a little bit of Tometi’s personal history, as well helping direct everyone to the main theatre.
Caleb Stevenson, Activist of the Lawrence community, explained why he came out to the lecture.
“This is one of the most important things in the United States and as a person of color and a member of Rock Chalk Invisible hawk.” Stevenson said.
He is involved in the city commission and stands for the voices of the oppressed and marginalized. Other attendees had different things to say.
“I hope it’s not the usual,”Dolorus Fuller, member of the Lawrence community, said. “A whole lot of talking and no doing.”
Scanning the audience, there were many different kinds of people supporting this event as Opal Tometi took the stage. She started out showing a music video titled “Welcome to America”by Lecrae and from there began to explain a little bit about her past and how the movement was started.
Tometi talked about a variety of subjects, from talking about how her little brother being bullied growing up for “being black” to the Trayvon Martin case from 2012. Tometi said that all of this sparked her to speak out and do something about the injustice, which was the start of the Black Lives Matter movement. She was sure to emphasize her desire for global effects, starting in America. Tometi’s parents were immigrants from Nigeria and she wishes to see global change on how we look at blackness. She repeatedly emphasized the words “tonight is a call to action” with a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote always in her background reading “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
The Q and A after the speech ran longer than Tometi speaking by herself and proved just how active the Lawrence community is to end racial injustice.