“The right to protest”: A recap of the panel discussion


The MSU Spokesman

Paul Archibald, Ph.D, an assistant professor in the school of social work at Morgan State University, has family from the West Indian country Saint Kitts & Nevis, who live in Bronx, New York. They were protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA), but since President Donald Trump discontinued the program, he worries their future is now in jeopardy.

“They did a raid in the Bronx, and they went after a lot of West Indians and Caribbeans,” Archibald said. “There’s a lot of fear because I have a lot of family who are in New York who are undocumented.”

With his family on his mind Wednesday at a panel discussion titled “The Right to Protest for Right,” hosted by his Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Archibald stressed why it is important that black people continue to stand up for other marginalized communities.

“I’m a black Caribbean,” he said. “The diversity within us forces us to deal with all issues.”

The panelist discussion featured Archibald, Natasha Pratt-Harris, Ph.D, Reverend Heber Brown, Ph.D, Adam Jackson and Chinedu Nwokeafor. They spent the evening discussing the role protests play in the 21st century and discussed whether including LGBTQ, Muslim and DACA communities in their fight will force the black agenda to take a backseat, which some black activists have argued. Nwokeafor, a Morgan alumnus, agreed with Archibald.

“Dr. Pratt-Harris is part of the black struggle, right? She is,” Nwokeafor explained. “She’s also a woman, which is part of the woman’s struggle. She’s also a black woman, which is now part of the black woman’s struggle.” He added, “I think we need to focus, and make sure that we’re not getting the message we’re trying to send muddied up, but a lot of these struggles are interconnected.”

Other topics that were discussed included Colin Kaepernick, debates over Confederate statues, the roles of HBCUs and how to turn discussions into action.

“It’s not about turning a moment into a movement,” Jackson explained. “There are movements happening every day. The question is, ‘Where do you situate yourself?’”

“Everybody’s not in the same; we all don’t wake up at the same time,” said Archibald. “People get better when you model to them what it looks like, and we have to keep modeling what it looks like.”