The Society of Collegiate Black Men, as well as other organizations on Howard’s campus, came together last month to have provocative conversations between men and women. The first event earlier in March was called “Break the silence, stop the violence,” a women’s empowerment panel discussing the importance of consent, properly interacting with women and prevention of any type of assault. The second event was ‘Say What’s Real,’ a panel centering healthy conversations around social interactions, dating and friendships amongst students. Panelists and audience members spoke candidly.
“Respect is one of our pillars so we take that very seriously,” Ahmad Edwards, a sophomore member of The Society of Collegiate Black Men, said. “We were built on the principles that we respect people, respect each other, we respect women, we respect us…We’ll continue to build this pillar of respect because we are looking to ultimately create a safe space not only for the people on this campus but primarily the woman on campus to let them know that we are with them and not against.”
“This is very important for the Black community because not all Black is the same,” Tamia Fouler, a Howard senior and member of The National Council of Negro Women, said. “It’s all about respecting honesty. Respecting somebody in a social interaction just improves the interaction overall. Not wanting to automatically get something from somebody and not feeling entitled to getting what you want is just the most important thing because we’re not objects. We are not just something to control. We’re people.”
Cody Sims, a sophomore honors criminology major from Milwaukee, Wisconsin reflects on the ‘Say What’s Real’ event.
“I feel like an event like this is very important, mainly because of the fact that it provides us with a different perspective,” Sims said. “One thing that I learned from this conversation, just specifically speaking from a male’s point of view, is I see where women are coming from when they talk about what they want in a man and certain things. You think you know so much, just being a man, but now just hearing it straight out of a woman’s mouth about what they want in a relationship and what they’re seeking from a man.”
“I think this event is really important, especially being that the ratio is very off within Howard so it doesn’t really create a lot of space for fruitful conversation,” Deveraux Mackey, panelist and Howard senior, said. “In order to really have change in amongst our community, we have to be able to have those dialogues so this is a great space to have fruitful dialogue without any contention without any of the Twitter beef or backlash all that stuff just wholeheartedly have a conversation.”
Jaron Dandridge, a senior honors finance major from Richmond, Virginia and a member of The Society of Collegiate Black Men said, “I think the main problem at Howard is that people feel scared to break down the barriers between different orgs and groups within Howard’s community… It just opens my eyes to a lot of different things. I was an older brother to two younger sisters, so I didn’t really get much feedback or input on certain things that I could have done better as a man or just their outlook on certain things that are going on the Black community that I did get to hear from women that are here today, so that was great.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew
CORRECTION: This article incorrectly referred to The Society of Collegiate Black Men as “The Society of Men.” This error has been corrected to accurately address the organization.