Director of African American Studies at Saint Louis University (SLU), longtime activism scholar and Yakima native, Dr. Stefan Bradley is coming home with something to say.
His upcoming talk, “Freedom and Beyond: Activism, Access and Achievement in the Age of Ferguson” about black student achievement and activism on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in the CWU Wellington Event Center, has people in the area excited, Hype staff included.
“It’s my opportunity to share with people in the audience what the uprising in Ferguson looked liked at the ground level as a professor in the area,” Bradley said, referencing the fact that he had taken students from his classes out to the protests in Ferguson that followed the death of Michael Brown in March of 2014.
Bradley, also an associate professor of history at SLU, feels it is his responsibility as an educator and scholar to share his experience and passion for activism, particularly student activism, with those younger than him.
“It would be sinful of me to let the older generation sacrifice themselves and for me to not pay the favor forward to the younger generation. It would be wrong for me to not say something when I could,” Bradley earnestly explained, saying that he’s excited to come home with experiences to share.
“It’s about what we can do to motivate and inspire on a 21st century college campus,” Dr. Keith Champagne, associate dean of student development and success, said. “He knows that what’s happening outside of the campus can inform what happens on the campus. He’s someone they [students] can emulate and imitate.”
Champagne explained he’s excited students like Nina Caldwell, ASCWU vice president for legislative affairs and S.I.S.T.E.R.S. president, are taking an active roll in bringing speakers like Bradley to campus as part of the university wide Social Justice and Human Rights Series.
“I’ve always lived off this whole model that without knowledge, you’re ignorant,” Caldwell said. “If you don’t engage in these conversations, you’re living off a stereotype.”
Being a student is a lifelong endeavor, it takes constant listening, engaging and discussing to learn more about yourself and the world around you. Reading Dr. Bradley’s book, “Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s” is a good start to learning about student activism, but coming to his talk will work equally well. Hype staff will be there because we, like you, are excited to learn.
“The one thing I hope students get from it is empathy,” Caldwell said about her wishes for the event’s effect on her fellow students. “The more people we have on the topic, on the subject as a whole, the easier it is to have a resolution.”