Print: More than a moment, BLM at FAU

How has the social justice movement affected FAU students and organizations?


On Sept. 10, 2020, students participated in a protest against racial inequality at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. Student athletes and faculty were involved in the march for equality. Photo by Alex Liscio.

Elliot Rodriguez, Contributing Writer

Editor’s note: This story is in the UP’s latest issue that can be found physically on campus and digitally through our Issuu page.

Since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, America has been dealing with a large-scale social justice movement.

FAU students, faculty, and organizations are not going unheard. They are using their voices to speak up and say how they feel about the situation and if they think the election will affect it.

“It woke me up. I thought that I should play some role to make sure that we take steps into the right direction,” Madyson Roye, a member of the Black Student Union (BSU) said.

With the election right around the corner, this is a very important time for Roye. She does not think that this election should be taken lightly by any means.

“I plan on using my right to education and my right to vote, to get the most out of this election,” she said.

Roye organized a protest that drew in all walks of life, that wanted their voice to be heard. Her protest took place on the Boca Housing lawn, where they marched around the campus. The protest was a way for Roye to take part in helping the movement, by gathering everyone who wanted to speak on the subject and march for true equality.

She was very adamant about how she wants the FAU community as well as the nation to open their eyes and see what is going on with social justice. “Everything that brings us down starts with ignorance,” Roye stated.

Madyson Roye, student protest organizer and member of the Black Student Union, poses for a portrait after her protest at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL on September 10, 2020. Photo by Alex Liscio.

“We don’t have a lot of black students in positions that can be fully understood,” Roye said. Meaning that she would like to see a better distribution of Black students on campus that hold the power to make important decisions and changes.

Roye saw a positive reaction from the people who took part in her march. Which lifted the spirit of Roye, knowing that she played a role in giving the movement.

It’s not just students who have been affected positively, however. It’s also got some faculty members playing a role in the movement as well.

Dr. Kelly Shannon, Director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights initiative and also an associate professor at FAU, is pulling faculty together to help the Social Justice cause.

When all is put into place, Shannon is planning on hosting virtual events that deal with the issue of race and is bent on being active on the issue.

Shannon also addressed how other organizations, for example, the Center for Inclusion, Diversity Education, and Advocacy (IDEAs) have had virtual meetings called Real Talk. Students here can bring up any topic that they feel strongly about and have a discussion about it with the people in the meeting.

“Right now we are at a big turning point,” Shannon said. Shannon’s view is that of a long view, being that she thinks it’s going to take a lot of time and commitment to get serious changes in place. She is starting to see some minor changes, however. “[We are] Starting to see a lot more white people seeing racism as a problem,” Shannon said.

However the Social Justice movement is not just about equality for people of color, but it is also for other groups that are not understood or considered to be in the minority category.

Joi Dean, President of the FAU Chapter of The National Organization for Women and Director of Florida Collegiate N.O.W., is actively involved in making a change and trying to get people to understand one another.

“Diversity is nothing without inclusion,” Dean said. One of Dean’s dreams is to see all prejudice and bigotry eradicated, but she understands how that could take quite a while to happen. At least during her lifetime, she wants to see people keep taking steps in the right direction towards equality and peace.

Dean is also aware of the hand that the election has in the whole movement as well. Dean likes the fact that this election has opened people’s eyes towards problems in America.

She is hoping to see people push each other to vote during this, what she calls “messy” election.

With students speaking up about these tough times, young people are paving the way for the future.

“The only way to have true freedom, is to make people free,” Shannon said.

Elliot Rodriguez is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].