Activist, Advocate and Educator Shares Personal Experience
African American scholar, activist and advocate David Ragland will bring his personal experiences and passion for change to Nelson in mid-April as he participates in the Mir Centre for Peace Lecture Series.
Since Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in August, 2014, police violence in America has become a hot button issue south of the border. Protests and the non-violent Black Lives Matter movement has called into question a system that’s complacent and in need of change.
The Selkirk College Mir Centre for Peace Lecture Series will present African American scholar and activist David Ragland who’s connected to the Black Lives Matter movement at the Shambhala Music & Performance Hall in Nelson on April 15 at 7 p.m.
Ragland grew up next door to Ferguson in St. Louis, Missouri hearing from his father the well-intentioned but misplaced idea that if a black American behaves a certain way, they will better reflect themselves to a white mainstream.
“My dad used to say, if you are nice to the police, if you are looking nice, they won’t bother you. But that’s not the case,” Ragland says. “I have a PhD and I’ve had a police officer’s boot in my neck, in a suit, after being nice. It’s like shifting our humanity to suit how other people can best perceive us... Either a life matters or it doesn’t.”
Educator Called to Activism
Now an assistant professor at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, Ragland has added the role of activist and advocate to educator because for him, it’s necessity. He says he can’t stand by and let injustice continue in his country because lives depend on his activism.
“It’s urgent. Our communities are occupied,” he says.
In this role, he’s connected to those personally affected by police violence. A professor at the University of Arizona and a colleague of Ragland’s was recently beaten by a police officer for crossing the street at the wrong place. An activist in Baltimore beaten by police, reached out to him for help securing legal representation. He feared for his life.
Ragland worries about the lives of his nephews, his family and his friends.
“My own life is in danger,” he says. “I see it as a possibility and it has happened to me. I have been brutalized by police before so for me it’s a matter of life, but then it’s also a matter of those rights and expression of dignity is additionally of such urgent importance to me. This work has become a priority.”
Ragland will visit Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus, Shambhala Music & Performance Hall on Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m. He will give a straight forward and personal perspective on the violence he’s witnessed and explain the value of community-based approaches to change, fostering a true culture of peace.
Read the entire story at selkirk.ca
Tickets are now available at Otter Books in Nelson (cash or cheque only) or at the Selkirk College Castlegar campus bookstore. Cost is Adult $16, Senior $13 and Student $13.
Adult $16 | Senior $13| Student $13To order tickets by phone, please call 250.365.1281