The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Black in Eau Claire

David Taintor

UW-Eau Claire’s Black Student Association presented the panel discussion “On Being Black at UW-Eau Claire” last week Thursday as a closer for Black History Month.

BSA members, sophomores Anastasia Davis and Tamika Marchbanks, juniors Abou Amara and Angie Jones and graduate student Joe Webb sat in front of a packed room and spoke about their more personal stories in and out of Eau Claire as members of a minority.

“We got the opportunity to really say what it’s like because people don’t know and they don’t understand,” said Davis, BSA’s communications director. “I was not planning at all to share my personal life . but I felt that it was necessary, it was important, it was relevant and it explains a lot and it puts a much better understanding on the situation and the issues at hand.”

Questions arose about such things as how they are treated in school and in the wider community, being pulled over by police, what the school needs to do to aid in diversity and what the election of President Barack Obama meant to them.

Story continues below advertisement

Senior Gretchen Mauel attended the event out of curiosity.

“It was very real and the students didn’t hold back,” said Senior Gretchen Mauel. “We had our peers who were actually just talking to us, just giving us the real side of the story and I think it’s incredibly important to hear where our peers are coming from.”

Mauel said she was very impressed with how the event went and was surprised to see so many students, faculty members and even community members attend.

“(The event) broke down that invisible barrier,” Davis said.

She said she was concerned with the way people use stereotypes, especially at a university with such a small percentage of African-American students.

“I think we broke that down and gave stustudents the chance to relate to us and understand they’re just like us, because we are.”

Organized by the BSA with history professor Selika Ducksworth-Lawton and Christine Webster of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the entire month honored African-American history. Thursday’s event served as the month’s finale.

“From the blues band, to the faculty talks, to this, I think we exceeded expectations with every event,” Ducksworth-Lawton said.

Both Ducksworth-Lawton and Webster said they were very happy with the turnout for this year’s events.

“Part of the mission of the Office of Multicultural Affairs is to promote an environment that embraces the diverse cultures that are here. It’s really necessary,” Webster said.

“(We wanted to) educate both students and faculty to the unique challenges on campus,” Ducksworth-Lawton added, “with the hope that some of the students and faculty can in their way mitigate them.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Black in Eau Claire