Angela Davis addresses university
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Former political prisoner turned famed activist Angela Davis presented a keynote speech discussing the current fight for justice to kick off Black History Month at the University of Toledo. The speech was presented to a large group in The Lancelot Thompson Student Union Auditorium on Feb. 4.
The recurrent discussion presented in Davis’s speech, entitled The State of Black America: Views from a political activist, was on the intersectionality of struggle.
“We need to realize that Black History Month is an occasion for all those that believe in freedom. This is not just a negro problem,” Davis said.
The speech focused on the importance of celebrating our own potential as agents in the movement towards freedom, a message that resonated with fourth-year student Gabrielle Hodges.
“I’ve been a huge admirer of Davis for years now. She has been a major influence of gaining knowledge of myself as a young, black woman in my 20s,” Hodges said. “It was an honor to hear her speak today.”
Davis connected historical points in her talk with current events and went on to discuss the parallels between racism towards African Americans to the present bout with islamophobia .
“As we celebrate Black History Month let us therefore recognize the connections between anti-black racism and anti-Muslim racism. To argue that immigration from certain Muslim countries will lead to terrorism is simply , islamophobia” Davis said.
Those coming to stand in support with diverse groups understood Davis’s ability to recognize those outside of the black community.
“I came out today to learn from a great revolutionary activist. I am here in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all other struggles for freedom,” said one audience member .
Davis worked to rally the audience near the end of her address and used her closing remarks to tie in her current stance on abolishing the prison system with the idea of freedom.
“A population of people is produced who have nowhere to turn. This is why you have seen the rise in the numbers of people in prison,” Davis said. “They prevent us from grappling with the complexities of the problems of our time.”
With applause and a standing ovation from the audience, Davis stepped down from her platform.
“Everyone is responsible for everyone. We are all in this together,” said another audience member.