GVSU offers new Black Lives Matter course

By Sanda Vazgec | 9/11/16 9:46pm

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Touré, Vice columnist and well known author, visits Grand Valley's Allendale campus on a chilly Jan. 18, 2016. Hundreds of students gathered inside the Fieldhouse to listen to Touré's keynote speech; the students also participated in a silent march before the event.
by Kevin Sielaff and Kevin Sielaff / The Lanthorn

Following ongoing social justice issues within the black community in the U.S., the Black Lives Matter movement has gained strength and influence. In the midst of these events, Grand Valley State University is offering a new course this fall framed to open up discussion about how the Black Lives Matter movement has affected society.

The course, titled IDS/AAA 180: Black Lives Matter, will run from Sept. 12 to Oct. 14 and meets from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. The course will focus on what the Black Lives Matter movement means, why it is controversial and the events that lead to the movement's inception.

The course is taught by Louis Moore, chair of the African African American studies department at GVSU.

“This is a major movement happening in our society today and we need to have some dialogue about it,” Moore said. “We’re going to look at these issues from today’s perspective but also taking a look into the history of the civil rights movement and how that transcends to today.”

Students taking the course will learn about historic forces of racial power and the concerns surrounding police brutality. They will also learn about the message of the Black Lives Matter movement in regard to policing, gender equality and the future for black Americans.

Moore said an emphasis of the course will be looking at the historical evolution of how past generations have handled issues like police brutality. Students will have readings from different decades and use the opportunity to learn context for the modern issues the Black Lives Matter movement focuses on.

Maalik McClinton, a GVSU student enrolled in the course, said his motivation for registering comes from his personal experiences as a young black man in the U.S.

“I’m hoping this class will help me understand better ways to go about advocating for black lives,” McClinton said. “The issue of police brutality has me very upset and angry. I want people to understand that black people are here to stay, learn to love us and protect us.”

All students are welcome to register for the course regardless of race or social identity. The capacity is set at 20 students and there are few spaces left to register.

Moore said the future of the course is dependent on the evolution and progression of the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the near future and hopes the course will guide more open discussions among students about social justice in the U.S. 

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