By Vanessa Tousignant
A year of racial and social unrest has left millions of people nationwide questioning the ways in which they can create a realistic and sustainable impact on the world around them. In February, Bergen’s Office of Student Life hosted Angela Scarfia, an education facilitator from Trill or Not Trill, an institute that focuses on teaching students cultural responsible leadership.
This program, 5 Steps to Using Your Privileges, Powers and Talents To Create Sustainable Action Plans To Support The Black Lives Matter Movement, was one of the many Black History Month events that Bergen Community College hosted.
The presentation, which had over thirty participants composed of college students, faculty, and staff, broke down the five simple steps that people can utilize to actively contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, and become better members of the communities that they are a part of.
Scarfia first explained to the group that without a basic knowledge of the Black Lives Matter organization’s core mission, no visceral change can be made. “I think that is really important for anyone that is interested in getting involved, if you don’t already have an understanding of the movement and their mission, you have to start there. You have to understand what the movement is fighting for and where can you support [it],” Scarfia said.
Black Lives Matter organization is, “more than just a hashtag.” In fact, it was founded to fight for global liberation of Black people, arguing that once Black people have freedom, all people will have more freedom.The organization, while recently gaining more publicity and recognition during this summer’s social justice awakening, has been around for years, and brings awareness to a list of issues that directly impact the Black community.
“The wealth gap, employment gap, incarnation, housing discrimation, education, healthcare. These are all different areas that in each one of them they have their subgroups of problems that need to be addressed,” Scarfia said. “It’s so important for people to start doing their research on how all of these areas have been impacting Black people since the beginning of America.”
People must use their own resources in order to help others. “When we talk about making social change and making an impact, it’s you doing the work. So, you can’t do the work unless you’re showing up in your best potential and your best way to make a difference,” Scarfia said.
The final step is where the action plan is created and sustained. “Having an idea is great, but if you’re not taking action and then letting it come to existence, it’s not a sustainable idea,” Scarfia said.
The participants were guided through the 5 Steps to Using Your Privileges, Powers and Talents To Create Sustainable Action Plans To Support The Black Lives Matter Movement, and were given tools required for real change.
“The presentation was well received by those in the audience and I was really happy to see students as well as faculty and staff all participating. Angela’s energy and willingness to talk about her own experiences, I believe, helped make several people feel comfortable saying what was on their own mind.” said Dr. Maureen Ellis-Davis, Sociology professor.