by Louis Chavey (’22) | March 1, 2020
With the Black Lives Matter movement thrust into the national spotlight this past summer, this year’s Black History Month is especially important. The Lancer recently caught up with Black Student Union student leader Thomas Moore-Rios (’21) to discuss Black History Month. He gives a more personal look at Black History Month and looks forward to actionable change that both the United States and the Saint Francis community can make.
The Lancer: Just in a general sense, what does Black History Month mean to you personally?
Thomas Moore-Rios: So what it means to me, it’s very inspiring to learn about black history. All the past thousands of years, for me personally, it’s just very good to know. There’s stuff that I didn’t even know about that I continue to still learn today. And it’s just good to show how much black excellence has been expressed throughout the years.
TL: Is there any person or event that is particularly meaningful to you? Why?
TMR: Since I am an athlete, the Jackie Robinson story really stuck with me for sure because there’s been many times I’ve kind of been in a difficult situation but not as global, like not everyone knows about it. It was just a time where I was the only African American on the soccer team. And it was very, very weird, but always made me think about how Jackie Robinson, even if there was discrimination or racism going on, and how he kept going, which I really appreciate.
TL: How should Black History Month be celebrated? What should be the focus?
TMR: I think Black History Month should be celebrated very seriously, but there’s not a specific thing you celebrate. Mostly just learning about the history of African Americans and what they had to go through is very important. But other than that, be respectful of it and try to be understanding.
TL: What are some policy changes you hope to see implemented in our local communities or even at the national scale?
TMR: I think we need, in some parts of America, the police need to have a policy change where it’s illegal to take someone’s life. It’s already illegal, but there is still sometimes discrimination towards African Americans specifically such as George Floyd. Trayvon Martin. There’s a lot of instances where the police took those kids’ lives and some of them didn’t pay for it. Some of them just went on with their lives, and some of them did go to prison, but not as long as they should have. So I think there just needs to be a policy change throughout America.
TL: What are some specific ways students can directly support the Black community at Saint Francis?
TMR: Maybe just promote equality through maybe social media or any way they can. I mean, it’s very hard to like, try to do something, especially during [a] pandemic, that’s very active. You can maybe go to protest, but most of the things are just promoting good morals and more equality.
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