BLUEFIELD, VA (WOAY) – Bluefield College held a community forum to discuss racial injustice.
According to the college’s director of athletics Tonia Walker, who spoke at the forum, the forum is meant to address the issue as a humanitarian issue that affects all of us.
“It’s an understanding and an acknowledgment that we have a humanity issue. We have an issue that needs to be addressed not by the black race, but by us as people,”
The forum was held on Bluefield’s campus but was live-streamed to reach as many people as possible and to keep crowds to a minimum. Despite the digital disconnect, Walker has been speaking to the student body to find out their perspective on the issue.
“As the director of athletics, I have been speaking with my student-athletes and to the students who are concerned, who do want to take a stand in solidarity, who do want to create activism. But the question presents itself as how.”
According to the speakers at the forum, the forum’s whole point is to learn from different perspectives and drive activism from what they learn.
“To present a platform for us to be able to speak and to hear one another and to learn from different perspectives. And from all of that to drive activism so that we can take a stance so that we can do something about the problem that we see before us.”
According to Tonia, they don’t want to attack others who don’t see the issue the same as they do, they simply want to hear from them and encourage them to look at different viewpoints, and understand the complexities of the issue.
“I’m hopeful and prayerful that if we can prick the heart of some who may not have had remorse for what they saw, for what they have been seeing, then we can make a difference.“
Speakers at the panel included the president of the college, the dean of institutional effectiveness Dr. Lewis Brogdon, three pastors from local churches and many others.
According to a written statement by Dr. Brogdon, the forum represents the college’s commitment to stand by their Christian virtues, including showing compassion for neighbors, listening to those that have been silenced and working toward reconciliation.