“Perspectives: Whose Protest is it Anyways?”

Allison Graebe

The first event of the three-part series “Perspectives: Whose Protest is it Anyways?” discussed the history of protests and the relevance they continue to have last Tuesday evening in the William T. Young Library auditorium.

Last Tuesday’s event dissected the different perspectives on current protests. Jim Embry, director of Sustainable Communities Network, and Devine Carama, activist and local hip-hop artist, were there as panel members to foster open discussions about national protests.

Embry, an involved activist from a young age, said he believes protests occur because “we are a democracy evolving.” He said that America has never been a true democracy. Only now, due in part to the prevalence of protests, does America now have the potential to be a true democracy.

Embry said the criteria he believes should be present in every movement are to create resistance, generate alternatives and project its vision.

Carama said that protests enrich the American culture by promoting conversation among people with different views. Protests should strive for the goal of promoting change and exchanging knowledge.

Embry participated in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s as a child. When asked to compare the Civil Rights movement to the current Black Lives Matter movement, he mentioned that each movement dealt and still deals with the issue of police brutality and unequal opportunities among the African American community compared to the white community.

Carama acknowledged that protests can take many forms. He compares social change to a war. There are those on the ground participating in marches, those taking part in community activism and those fighting for change in the legal system.

Carama strongly believes that everyone is gifted with different skills, and that people should use those skills to make a difference. Being a hip-hop artist, he finds that his music can double as a form of protest.

Carama mentioned the significance of the Harlem Renaissance and how the creation of hip-hop served as a voice for the voiceless, addressing social issues. It may seem subtle, yet it makes an impact.

Megan Baker is a fellow Media Depot employee. After the panel discussion, Baker said that it exceeded her expectations by diving “more in depth” on different issues of protests.

Each Perspectives event will consist of different political and social issues. The series aims to promote student-led discussions, though faculty will be there to moderate.

Every event will start with a short documentary made by students discussing the current topic, followed by a panel discussion. Afterwards, there will be a reception to give students a chance to further the discussion.

Information Communication Technology and Media Arts and Studies student Zach Smith created and developed the proposal for Perspectives. 

With this three-part series, “our primary objective is to promote diversity and inclusion on UK’s campus,” Smith said. “We want to do so by actively engaging students from different departments to come together and further the discussion.”

The College of Law, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies, Media Arts and Studies Program, and Media Depot have all collaborated to make Perspectives happen.

Each event is scheduled for the last Tuesday of every month. The second event will dive into the topic of immigration. The third topic is yet to be decided.