Colorado State’s Fifth Annual Black Issues Forum Reflects Pertinent Issues in Town Meeting Performances

Police brutality, Afrocentric curriculum, affirmative action and unity are some of the topics that will be discussed during Colorado State University’s fifth annual Black Issues Forum June 12-14.

The program brings together more than 60 high-school students from Colorado, California, Illinois, Arizona, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania to discuss important issues currently facing the African-American community.

The three-day program will require students to discuss and research a case study that highlights a particular issue facing the African-American community. The students will be given roles to play based on the scenario and will actively participate in a town meeting format in their assigned roles, ranging from a community member to a concerned parent. The weekend will culminate in a final presentation at 1 p.m. June 14 in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

"The planning committee selected the town meeting format for this year’s Black Issues Forum because we felt it was the most engaging way to have students understand the real-life effects of these issues on people’s lives," said Tracey Raiford, coordinator of the forum and assistant director of admissions at the university. "It’s important for students to become active participants in pertinent issues and recognize how different philosophies and proposed solutions can affect the African- American community."

African-American community leaders from Denver and Fort Collins will serve as panelists and special guests during the weekend.

Reynelda Muse, award-winning anchorwoman from NEWS 4, KCNC- TV, will play a key role in the town meeting forum. Muse became the first woman chosen as "Broadcaster of the Year" by her peers in the Colorado Broadcasters Association. In 1993, she also received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" of the Colorado Black Journalists Association.

Thandabantu Iverson, a lecturer from the department of labor studies at the University of Indiana, will serve as keynote speaker for the forum. Iverson received his master’s degree from Clark Atlanta University, where he also has taught courses in political science and sociology. Iverson is board member of Men Stopping Violence Inc. and helps organize and facilitate workshops on domestic violence and sexism. Iverson also is a member of the steering committee for Black Workers for Justice.

"We are pleased to have African-American leaders, like Ms. Muse and Mr. Iverson, serve roles in this year’s forum because they believe in the importance of young people in our communities," said Raiford. "We are fortunate to have community members and university representatives provide a wonderful example for these high school students in their own leadership journeys."

Raiford added that student participants gain exposure to the college campus setting with direct interaction with university faculty and students, which makes higher education a more comfortable and intriguing choice.

For more information on this year’s Black Issues Forum, call Raiford at (303) 573-6315.