As a part of “Black Lives Matter, a Northwestern Dialogue,” Black Lives Matter NU held an open forum at Harris Hall Thursday night, discussing possible objectives for a BLM chapter at NU, hopes for how to structure the organization, and taking questions and comments from the audience to help explain the organization to interested students.
The forum began with an acknowledgment that the meeting was taking place on formerly Native American-owned land. Two BLM NU members then outlined the goals for the organization in a powerpoint presentation, including the top five outcomes students chose as being most important for BLM NU: political education events, the diversity requirement campaign, healing work, the Unshackle NU campaign and the reparations campaign.
The members then went on to explain and elaborate on each of the points, including planning an event to educate students about the available resources at NU, continuing to stay up-to-date on the administration’s progress in implementing a diversity course requirement, the possible formation of a conflict resolution committee in order to promote healing, the nomination process of representatives to a new Committee on Responsible Investment, and a reparations campaign whose goals include getting the administration to increase financial aid to black students.
Students were able to ask questions and engage with the speakers after the presentation, asking about how students can spread the word, what kind of pushback the group has faced and what the group’s goals are.
“The hopes with this meeting would be to get folks invested in work with BLM NU, to talk to allies about collaborations and cooperative movement building,” Communication senior Sarah Oberholtzer, one of the members who spoke during the presentation and answered questions, said. “NAISA (the Native American & Indigenous Student Organization) has been interested in collaborating with us.”
BLM NU serves as the Political Action Committee for For Members Only (FMO), Northwestern’s black student alliance. Its mission statement is, “to aid in the political representation of Northwestern University’s Black undergraduate population ... (and) educate and promote a social consciousness in the broader Northwestern community.”
Black Lives Matter Chicago has reached out to the group, confirming their interest and showing their willingness to work together.
Going forward, the group hopes to strengthen their own ranks in hopes to achieve the goal of getting more black students into positions of power at Northwestern.
“[Our goal is] establishing a core group of individuals that are willing to lead campaigns,” Oberholtzer said.