Julian Bond- “From Alabama to Obama: A Critical View of the Civil Rights Movement”

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Hofstra University was fortunate enough to welcome the renowned Julian Bond, former NAACP Chairman of the Board and professor of history at the University of Virginia to speak about the evolution of the American Civil Rights movement on March 29. He prepared a moving and captivating speech entitled, “From Alabama to Obama: A Critical View of the Civil Rights Movement”.

The event was sponsored by Hofstra’s chapter of NAACP, the P.R.I.D.E. Network, The Black Student Union and Hofstra’s Debate 2012 programming. Additional sponsors included the Hofstra Cultural Center and the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs.

“I knew bringing Julian Bond would move the Hofstra community in a way that it has not been moved before”, said Nick Fils-Aime, senior and president of Hofstra’s chapter of NAACP. “I wanted to leave Hofstra knowing I left some kind of impact.”

According to his official biography, Julian Bond has been an active participant in the movements for civil rights, economic justice, and peace and an aggressive spokesman for the disinherited.

“There are very few people in the whole world who can say they were a student of Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Bond. “I’m one of the eight people in the universe who can say that.”

The Official Biography also explains Bond, “was an activist who has faced jail for his convictions, as a veteran of more than twenty years of service in the Georgia General Assembly, as a writer, teacher, and lecturer, Bond has been on the cutting edge of social change since he was a college student leading sit-in demonstrations in Atlanta in 1960.”

“The speech was incredible the way he mirrored the Civil Rights Act with what is going on now”, said Shaquana Lee, treasurer of the Black Student Union. “He brought everything full circle.”

“Jim Crowe may be dead but racism is alive and well,” said Bond. Bond explained that the roots of racism run very deep in America. He said that there are two types of racism; active and passive. Active being consciously prejudice while passive is unconscious.

“Racism is based on an ontological affirmation, ultimate arrogance of saying God made an error”, said Bond. “Race is a social construct; there is no genetic marker for race.”

“Civil Rights plays out every day,” said Chaundra Daniels, Assistant Director for Employment Relations at the Career Center. “It is essential for us to understand it is who we work for, who we work with, and what the work is about all includes people. It may not be people who look or sound like us but it is played out every day, what changes when you get home?”

Bond also commented saying that it was great to see a black organization and gay organization come together to put on the event. Bond said that as Americans and people, we should all have the same rights.

“I think he gave us a “master class,” said Pete Libman, Dean of Students. “I really give so much credit to our students for bringing him to campus.”

“We have great work to do and their needs to be a contentious move across America, said Bond. When we act together we can overcome.”

The event was followed by a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was fatally shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

-Morgan Smith

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