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SEE INSIDE

JSWISS ON THE RISE Taking action through his lyrics

Student Spotlight Amber Koonce and BeautyGap

Gender Non-Specific

Students fight for alternative housing

November 2011

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Letter from the Editor-in-Cheif

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Hello Readers! On behalf of the Black Ink Staff we welcome all of our fellow Tar Heels back to Carolina. In light of the Carolina Alumni that will be gracing our campus, we would like to showcase the involvement of the Black community here at UNC. Our last issue focused largely on the need for our students to speak out and be LOUD about their beliefs and their rights. With this issue we hope to highlight various initiatives that show our Black students in action. The Black community at UNC represents such a diverse group of students, from entrepreneurs to social justice and political activists, some of whom have not only made themselves known here at UNC but around the world. Following in the footsteps of our Carolina Alumni, these students have made many of the issues that affect our Black community nationally and internationally, their personal issues. They have seen a lack in the community and dedicated themselves to filling that void, dedicated to TAKING ACTION! As members of the Black community we must remember to look beyond what is affecting only us as Black individuals but what is affecting the Black community at large. You may not have problems with your self-image but the young African girls that Amber Koonce serves do. You may not personally have a need for gender nonspecific housing but there are Black students that do. These are things affecting the Black community, more importantly these are things affecting your world. And it is our duty, whether it directly involves us or not, to stay informed and to be active. As always, we hope this issue opens your eyes, expands your thought and challenges your ideals. We thank you for your relentless support as we uphold the success of this publication. And with your help we will continue to represent the Black presence on UNC’s campus through informative and revolutionary media. Make sure to follow us on twitter @uncblackink for publication updates and visit our website uncblackink.wordpress.com. Sincerely, Brittany Johnson

editor-in-chief

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Letter from the Managing Editor

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Dear Readers, As autumn rolls into Chapel Hill, the weather gets a little chilly and alumni faces become familiar — almost like they never left. Whether you’re a current student picking up your regular copy or alumni picking up the new version of the publication you held dear during your collegiate days, I’m so happy to give you all the Homecoming/November issue of Black Ink Magazine. Our staff has written, researched and reported on subjects that are both engaging and pertinent to the UNC community and beyond. The issue is a testament to action — political action, artistic action and social action. Check out our stance on the GOP’s eccentric frontrunner Herman Cain in “‘Cain’ You Vote for Him?” on page five. His right-winged views and sharp tongue are sure to heat up the fast-approaching 2012 presidential elections. Occupy Wall Street is a worldwide movement confronting corporate greed. Read our piece on the budding Occupy UNC movement on page 16. He’s rocked the crowd at Black Ink Magazine Releases and local venues. He’s got a little street cred and a conscious message. See our cover-boy rapper JSWISS on page 7. On the same note, read my feature on the absence of mainstream political Black music. “Cash, Cars, Clothes: Is that all we really know?” on page 8. Remember, I would love to hear your feedback on the magazine. Follow Black Ink @uncblackink on Twitter. Be sure to “Like” Black Ink Magazine on Facebook and email us at uncblackink@gmail.com. Take action, UNC! Averi Harper managing editor

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Campus Awareness

THE REAL SAM IS NO LONGER SILENT

Racial Monuments on UNC’s Campus Tyler Rouse

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This year marks the 218th birthday of UNC-Chapel Hill. Among the celebration and excitement, one can not overlook the numerous monuments around campus that do not represent the progression that this university has made since its opening. As diverse as the student population, faculty and staff are, UNC has a foundation built on racial prejudices and tensions that are represented on this campus today. Bringing these underrepresented issues to light is The Real Silent Sam movement. A coalition of members of the Chapel Hill community and UNC students dedicated to raising awareness of these monuments. On University Day, about 40 people gathered around the steps of Wilson Library. They were captivated by the poetry, speeches and background information presented at the event The Real Silent Sam, Part two. UNC alumna, Zaina Alsous, kicked off the provocation with her personal feelings about the movement saying, “I accepted the movement when stepping onto campus.” She was followed by, UNC alumnus Alexander Stephens who presented a riveting poem stressing that, “the Silent Sam monument acknowledged a broader issue.” He continued to explain that the goal of the movement is not to remove Silent Sam but to “combat the social amnesia, which the statue represents and was intended to perpetuate.” Other speakers at the event were students, Nicole Campbell and Kristen Maye, who stressed the need for students to understand what this monument represents and for first-years to be required to take the Black and Blue Tour, a tour that discusses UNC’s racial history and the people and events that many racially charged landmarks commemorate. The renowned Black and Blue Tour was started by African and African-American studies Professor Timothy McMillan, informally known as T. Mac, in 2001. He refers to the year 2001 as the, “start of a process to get the history of UNC found out and recognized.” McMillan started the tour in front of the Unsung Founders Memorial. This monument was built by Korean sculptor Do-Ho Suh and installed on UNC’s campus on May 11, 2005 as a gift from the 2002 senior class. McMillan said, “It was meant to be an interactive space that would invoke talk of racial issues.” But time and again you see that this is not the case. “I find it [the Unsung Founders Memorial amazingly problematic,” he said. There have been many inappropriate things done on this monument: laying out on it, eating on top of it and other unmentionable acts. Participants of The Real Silent Sam movement, McMillan and others who support the heightened awareness of racial monuments at UNC wish to inform and education the UNC community of the university’s secret history. Many students circulate through the buildings of Carr, Saunders, Aycock and Spencer for classes not knowing that these buildings were named after white supremacists. Julian Shakespeare Carr was a lead white supremacist who endorsed the Silent Sam monument in McCorkle Place. In 1913, he presented the monument with a speech dedicated to the Anglo Saxon race and its need to be persevered. William L. Saunders was a prominent face for white supremacy foremost because he was a lead organizer of the Ku Klux Klan in the city of Chapel Hill and in North Carolina as a whole. Charles B. Aycock along with four other UNC alumni of 1880 campaigned to demote biracial coalitions within the government and campaigned to promote the use of

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Political Commentary

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literacy tests during the voting process of Blacks. And lastly, Cornelia Phillips Spencer was an intense advocate of white supremacy and women’s suffrage. The Real Silent Sam movement represents people who refuse to remain ignorant of the history of the ground that they walk on everyday. They refuse to remain silent and to ignore the hidden racial prejudice and offensive past of the university. It is not about erasing the past, but understanding and acknowledging it so that we can move forward to a better future. Will you take the charge?

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

On September 21, 2011, Troy Davis was executed for the murder of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Georgia.

Desere’ Cross

His execution made headlines and his story was the center of attention even after his death at 11:08 p.m. The execution was even stalled due to an overwhelming amount of doubt that muddled the accuracy of Davis’ guilty conviction.

Death of the Justice System

There was no physical evidence and no murder weapon recovered. The majority of his conviction was based on eyewitness testimony. Seven witnesses from the original trial recanted or changed their testimony, adding further doubt to Davis’ conviction. At the last minute, a request for Davis’ execution to be stayed – legal term which refers to a lawsuit being stopped or suspended – was reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, causing Davis’ original execution time to be delayed for four hours. Despite the public outcry, lack of evidence and arguably faulty eyewitness testimony, Davis was executed. And Georgia State Attorney General Sam Olens said, “Justice has been served.” As a result, the United States’ continued use of the death penalty has been under intense scrutiny. Currently, the death penalty is legal in 34 states. The method most states employ is lethal injection, but other states use electric chairs and gas chambers. Issues surrounding the death penalty include cost, innocence and likely discrimination. It costs tax payers more money to fund the death penalty than to pay for a prisoner’s life sentence. The possibility of innocence is another factor. Initiatives like The Innocence Project have helped death row inmates to be exonerated of crimes. Since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, 1272 death row inmates have been executed. Many researchers have noted the races of the victim and the defendant to be an important factor. It is not the duty of any state to take a person’s life. Does killing a murderer resolve anything that life in prison doesn’t? Some would argue that the death penalty fulfills justice, but justice should be more than revenge. Justice should be rooted in accountability – holding a wrongdoer responsible for his or her actions. Troy Davis’ execution is deeply troubling. How could the United States justice system allow for the execution of a man when so much doubt surrounded his case? Why did the Georgia State Department of Corrections reject Davis’ request to submit to a lie detector test? How could an absent murder weapon, lack of DNA evidence and faulty eyewitness testimony result in a death sentence? Subjective factors heavily influence the death penalty. Until inconsistences are sorted out, people will continue to die at the hands of “states’ rights.”

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Political commentary

‘CAIN’ YOU VOTE FOR HIM?

Herman Cain’s Quest for Presidency Tasia Harris

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A cover of Newsweek featured an image of Herman Cain with the headline “The Unlikely Rise of the Anti-Obama: Yes We Cain!” The caricature that is Herman Cain seems to be a part of the Republican Party’s master plan. In addition to Cain, the GOP rejection of almost all legislation coupled with the momentum of the Conservative Tea Party has blocked almost all progress in our country in the name of bipartisan politics. The honeymoon period of President Barack Obama’s presidency was barely over before the Republican Party blatantly and ruthlessly attempted to make Obama unsuccessful. Some have speculated that Cain is simply a prop or agent of distraction put forth by the Republican Party to derail the credibility of President Obama, but that doesn’t seem very likely. After winning a straw poll in Florida in early October, Cain found himself in the political hot seat at the subsequent Republican presidential debate. His opponents gushed at the chance to put him down. Cain’s fellow Republicans, though normally in favor of tax programs that are easy on the wealthy, gunned down his trademark “9-9-9” tax plan. Rick Santorum, former senator of Pennsylvania, said bluntly, “Herman’s plan … could not pass [Congress].” He even turned to the audience and asked who was in favor of Cain’s tax reform. When no one raised their hand, he then said, “There you go, Herman. That’s how many votes you’ll get in New Hampshire.” Michelle Bachman, another conservative contender said, “When you take the ‘9-9-9’ plan and you turn it upside down, the devil is in the details,” referring to the Satanic number 666. According to Herman Cain’s official website, the “9-9-9” plan is a proposed tax reform that would enact a flat 9 percent corporate tax, individual income tax and national sales tax. The “9-9-9” is referred to as the first phase of his proposal. The second phase is briefly described as a fair tax under which Cain will “ultimately replace individual and corporate income taxes” and “end the IRS as we know it and repeal the 16th Amendment.” Democrats, who are generally more concerned with the welfare of Americans, plainly disagree with this plan, as it is a regressive tax, one that makes those on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum bear the brunt of taxpaying duties. Republicans are wary of the “9-9-9” plan with 44 percent of them against Cain’s tax reform. The economic adviser for former President Bush, Bruce Bartlett, recognized this threat to the lower class. Bartlett wrote, “at a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity.” Cain fails to mention that the plan has drawn criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, which were likely causes of the tweaking of his plan to create the new “9-09” plan. On MSNBC’s Meet the Press with David Gregory, when asked about this tax reform, Cain admitted for the first time that “yes, some people will pay more,” he added, “but more people will pay less is my argument.” David Gregory countered, “if you don’t pay taxes now, and you have an income tax and sales tax, you pay more in taxes.”

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Political commentary

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Courtesy of Fox News

Herman Cain, Republican presidential candidate

The controversy surrounding Cain is not limited to his suggested economic policies. Cain’s policies are so drastic and radically inconsiderate of the middle and lower class they inflame debates about socioeconomic status. Cain’s policies that would slam impoverished blacks if enacted and garner overwhelmingly negative sentiments from Black Americans because of Cain’s own race and the widespread acknowledgement that socioeconomic trends are linked closely to race. It is not unheard of for Black people to be conservative, and in fact, with respect to many issues – such as same-sex marriage and abortion – the Black community is generally less than liberal. However, statistics show that 15.8 percent of African Americans are unemployed in comparison to the national rate of 9.1 percent, and that 27.4 percent of blacks live under the poverty line in comparison to the national rate of 15.1 percent. Tax reform increases economic hardship for the middle and lower class is simply out of the question. If you were to ask Cain, as Gregory did, whether race has anything to do with it, he would say no. However, what Cain says does not always match. He tends to flip flop. When speaking about President Barack Obama, Cain has said directly that, “he’s never been part of the black experience in America. I can talk about that. I can talk about what it really meant to be ‘po’’ before I was poor.” Cain also challenged Obama’s race and said, “A real black man is not timid about making the right decisions.” Herman Cain has proven that simply because someone is Black it does not necessarily mean that he or she is truly speaking on behalf of the greater part of the Black community. It does not mean that all Black people will or should rally behind him or her. Despite the negativity that may come of Cain’s quest for the presidency, it is important to note that this is representative of the possibility that African-Americans are now able to transcend their liberal political stereotypes. Does Herman Cain and the absence of a solid Black leader represent a serious lack of cohesiveness and direction in the Black community?

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Music commentary

JSWISS ON THE RISE

Taking action through his lyrics Kiana Glover

Q

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So, who are the “Us” in “All For Us”?

A By “us,” I mean myself, those involved in making the project and the people listening. The idea is that the music is as much the audience’s as it is mine, since they’re really the ones who the music is for. Q

What tone were you trying to set with this project?

A I wanted to strike a balance between it being something fun and enjoyable but at the same time, pay attention to lyrics. So I wanted something that you get kinda of excited to listen to and you could also say that he was saying something with his music. I wanted the whole thing to be a whole cohesive project so that you could enjoy every track. Q

What’s your personal favorite song?

A I like “In My Car,” that’s a real fun song. It was cool because the person who produced it is a friend of mine. I remember being back home listening to his sound cloud page...and before I could actually get to him to find out if he already had plans with it, I had already wrote the whole song. I just instantly got a feel for it. Q John Daniels

JSWISS, New York native and UNC Chapel Hill junior, is one of few artists heavy in the on-campus rap game. A self-proclaimed lyricist, rather than rapper, has made quite the mark on UNC’s campus in the past twoand-a-half years. Anyone who takes a listen to his fifth project, “All For Us,” can see his words shine atop beats reminiscent of the early 90s, creating that old-school hip-hop nostalgia. With all of his tracks delivering a unique, yet evocative, feel, JSWISS’ most recent project is definitely one worth taking a listen to if you’re in the mood for real hip-hop void of the monotonous play on money, clothes and “sexually free” women that has clouded the rap game in recent years. His next EP, or extended play album, “Cool Grey” will be available for a dollar on November 17.

What proved to be a challenge on this project?

A Making it sound like one whole project that, you know, flowed and everything. So I guess it’s kind of fragmented but as opposed to “Out Of State Intuition” … you just get a lot of different sounds. Q

How have you developed from your first project until now?

A Not even getting into the lyrics or the music, the mixing, the sound quality of it … compared to my stuff now is horrible (Laughs). I know it’s still some people who like to listen to my first tape, but me, myself, I don’t like to listen to it because the sound quality isn’t up to par. Also I think, especially my delivery, like me being confident in what I’m saying and having it come off in a professional way, is something that’s developed a lot. Q

Who are your musical influences?

A

Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Lupe Fiasco and Nas.

Q

What image do you think your music conveys?

A I guess people may say I’m more of a conscious rapper. I don’t really curse. There’s maybe been like two curse words in all the songs I’ve made. Q

Who are you looking for to be a fan?

A I’m a college student, so I feel like even though I’ve had a bunch of people from around the states say that they like my music, I’m going to school at a college. I’m at UNC. I should have a big fan presence on campus and it’s something I’m kind of developing. I should have everyone on campus like: Rap? Hip-hop? That’s JSWISS.

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music commentary

CASH, CARS, CLOTHES

Is That All We Really Know? Averi Harper

Artists who get it right...

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Music –Black music– has been used as a form of political declaration, outcry and action for ages. In the latter part of the 20th century, political movements could be attached to songs that have arguably changed the way many Black Americans look at history. But those messages are drowned out by the less-than-righteous music of today. Long gone are the days of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s that brought forth iconic Black leaders and framed the hope of an entire people in Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Clouded is the message of James Brown’s funk record “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Faded are the memories of political upheaval and dissension that sparked the anti-war movement of the 1970s and spurred the release of Edwin Starr’s “War.” Distant are the cries of Public Enemy’s hit “Fight the Power,” during a time when equal protection under the law was an uncertain prospect. Where has all the political Black music gone?

KENDRICK LAMAR

His song “HiiiPower” (Section.80, 2011) mentions Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, and Marcus Garvey.

Some may argue that this generation doesn’t have much to fight for, but that simply isn’t true. ?uestlove of conscious rap group The Roots told music journalist Touré, “nine times out of ten, if there’s a depression, more a social depression than anything, it brings out the best art in Black people.” His theory fails to hold true during the current time. Blacks in America are struggling –struggling to keep their homes, struggling to find jobs and struggling to salvage a normal lifestyle in these years of economic downturn. Political uprisings like the right-winged Tea Party have aimed to destroy governmental services that poorer African-Americans depend on. Some would argue that Black Americans are in a depression. Yet, this plight remains unseen in today’s Black music. Where has all the political Black music gone? The recording artists of today do little more than encourage blind consumption. The accumulation of cash, cars, clothes, liquor, drugs and random sexual romps are the overarching messages of mainstream rhythm and blues, hip-hop and pop.

MOS DEF

“Crime & Medicine” (True Magic, 2006) talks about the effects of the drugs and the resulting violence in the urban black communities.

Travis Porter wants us to “Make it Rain,” Waka Flocka wants us to do “it” – some sexual act –with “No Hands” and Ace Hood glorifies providing for his family though seemingly illegal means. Yeah, he’s encouraging everyone to “Hustle Hard.” These empty messages do little to encourage political activity and, in fact, discourage it. Where are the artists that will call for the redress of institutional disadvantages that plague our poorer communities? Who are the musical artists that will step up and make their listeners aware of more than rump-shaking promiscuity, designer clothing and footwear, and liquor? Where has all the political Black music gone? And who will take charge to bring the beat back?

LUPE FIASCO

In “Words I Never Said” (Lasers, 2011) Lupe discusses political pundits, the War on Terrorism and not voting for President Obama - in 2008 and 2012.

...if there’s a depression, more a social depression than anything, it brings out the best art in Black people.

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blacks in Fashion

MAKING A FASHION STATEMENT Black Models on the Runway

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New York City, London, Milan and Paris are the major fashion capitals of the world. These cities show the world what’s “in” and “out” for every season. Blogs, news outlets and social

Darrilyn Fisher networking sites are saturated

with talk about the latest trends being showcased during Fashion Week. These trends are regarded as the top tier of style and serve as beacons of trendiness for the rest of society. Fashion Week is an exciting time of the year for the! world, especially for designers and the lucky few who are chosen to model. Anyone can model, right? Wrong! People must recognize that of the models who wear the exquisite and meticulously created clothing down the runway, Blacks and other models of color are not an ideal medium. Instead, blonde hair, blue-eyed models dominate the runway as designers, producers and creative directors create concepts to cater to their consumers. According to a report from Jezebel.com, New York’s recent Fashion Week boasted 4,657 opportunities for female models to be used. 82.4 percent of these opportunities were given to white models while Black models were only used for 8.5 percent of the spots. Asian and Latina models were used for a combined 8.8 percent. What do these statistics reveal about the present diversity in fashion? It is relatively nonexistent on the biggest stage for fashion in North America. It is probable that Blacks, Asians and Latinas are viewed simply as exotic entities and that keeps models of color from working during large scale fashion events. Kanye West revealed his preference for white models when he debuted his new Dw by Kanye West Spring/Summer 2012 line at Paris Fashion Week with only a sprinkle of Black and Asian models, including Chanel Iman gracing the runway. And even his inclusion of Chanel Iman warrants a little skepticism amid the rumors that the two engaged in a romantic relationship at some point. If minority designers and artists like Kanye do not understand the importance of using their platform to advance the minority image, where does this leave the minority community in high fashion? Are we only capable of showcasing our talents on BET’s Rip the Runway and other less respected outlets – ones that do not influence the global fashion industry? Fashion Week leaves with that exact impression and tells the world what’s “in” and “out” for the season. However, people cannot be content with the elusive statement that minority models are not “in-style.” Minorities must take action to be awarded equal opportunities so that images of Blacks, Asians and Latinas in fashion, and other facets of entertainment, will not continue to be controlled by the mainstream majority. Only then will the objectification and marginalization of these communities cease on and off the catwalk.

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Alumni spotlight

WHERE WILL WE GO FROM HERE

A Look at Successful Black Alumni from UNC Kristen Johnson

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If you ask someone to name a successful Black alumnus from UNC you’re bound to hear the name Michael Jordan, although he isn’t a graduate of the university. If you ask someone to name five successful Black alumni from the university you may hear names like Julius Peppers, Marion Jones, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter and Stuart Scott. While some Black athletes at the university go on to formulate spectacular professional careers, it leaves one to wonder how successful are the other Black alumni who do not chose the professional sports career? What are their success stories and what does it say about where current Black students at the university will go after graduation? Fortunately, the Black Alumni Reunion is able to provide some insight. Housed under the umbrella of the General Alumni Association, the Black Alumni Reunion or B.A.R. has helped to maintain a network of alumni who created the legacy for Blacks at UNC since 1980. This network has exemplified to undergraduates the success stories of Black alumni whose career paths are as diverse as the university itself. Over the past 31 years B.A.R. has attracted a remarkable list of high achieving alumni. Among their members is Dr. Kamala L. Uzzell, a Carolina graduate from the class of 1992. In the nearly 20 years since Dr. Uzzell has obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies, an M.A. in Agency Counseling from Campbell University, a Ph.D. in Education from North Carolina State University. She has also become a licensed professional counselor, a national certified counselor and a distance certified counselor. With her extensive and impressive education background, Uzzell founded the SOLAY, a counseling and research center that offers mental health therapy in Durham and Goldsboro, N.C. Although she has received degrees from multiple universities, Uzzell accredits UNC with giving her the tools she needed to maintain a successful career. “For me Carolina is an extension of home,” she said. Her love for the university isn’t just talk either. To open opportunities for UNC students and alumni, over half of her current employees are either UNC graduates or undergraduate interns. In addition, her company is considered a Dean Level sponsor of B.A.R. – the highest donor level one can achieve. Her passion for B.A.R. is also recognized through her work while serving on the B.A.R. planning committee. “I’ve been a part of the [B.A.R.] planning committee for the past five years because I enjoy having the opportunity to raise scholarship funds for deserving undergraduates and to plan activities for homecoming weekend.” Her dedication to the B.A.R should come as no surprise considering she credits Black Student Movement for connecting her with a network of friends she still uses for support in her professional career. “I am happy that we have such an organization at UNC,” she said. According to university records, in the 2009-2010 school year, Carolina awarded 7,439 degrees – 4,365 bachelors, 1,902 masters, 528 doctoral and 644 professional. Of all those degrees earned, a considerable amount will be received by Black students. Black UNC alumni are not just among the thousands of people who have received college diplomas, they are using their success to enact change on the world and make a positive impact throughout the community. So when one looks at alumni, such as Dr. Kamala L. Uzzell, one doesn’t only see a great Black alumna, but the reward of becoming one.

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Student Spotlight

TAKING ACTION

In the Community and at Large Ebony Shamberger

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She is an actress, pianist, singer, Morehead-Cain scholar, lifelong Girls Scout member, senior at UNC majoring in public policy analysis and African-American studies and recently she was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. Still scratching your head? Wonder no more. Amber Koonce is the name and she is taking action in the community —and beyond. In September, Glamour Magazine honored Koonce for her entrepreneurial success of establishing BeautyGap, a non-profit organization that sends dolls to orphanages in Ghana and Kenya to show children a new beauty ideal and help build self-confidence in their body image. The idea for BeautyGap began to develop in the summer of 2009 while Koonce was in Ghana teaching a primary school and mentoring at the nation’s prison for girls. Then, she realized that the dolls the girls carried lacked color. And she wanted to do something about it. Despite this source of inspiration, it wasn’t until later in her African Studies 101 course that she learned about the cultural concept of the “beauty gap” that allowed her idea to fully develop. In this class, she learned that the “beauty gap” is an African standard of beauty that is measured by the gap between a woman’s two front teeth and it is a concept that is heavily influenced by the Western standard of beauty.

Amber Koonce

Considering the negative effects of a Westernized standard of beauty and white dolls given to orphanage children, she decided to take action. “When you see that a certain image is being adored,” Koonce said, “and that image doesn’t look like you, it is only natural to feel insecure.” Growing up, Koonce lived in a predominately white environment and, as a result, she was not confident in her appearance. She said, “No matter how much my mom and dad told me I was beautiful, I knew I did not look like the children who surrounded me.” Outside of her environment, Koonce’s parents tried to surround her with black dolls, books, toys and doctors, but she still found it hard to feel attractive. She does not want girls in Africa to feel this way. Thus, she is started BeautyGap to accomplish this goal. As a non-profit organization, Koonce has received multiple donations for BeautyGap. To date, her largest donation came from her 2011 JNO Excellence in Entrepreneurship award given through the UNC Entrepreneurship department. Apart from her works in Africa, Koonce serves as the workshop coordinator for the Durham County Youth Home in North Carolina. She got involved through the Campus Y’s Criminal Justice Action and Awareness committee and has been its co-chair since her sophomore year. “We do goal-setting and poetry workshops that help the youth reflect on what they want to do with their lives, and how they can best go about making positive changes,” she said. When asked where her inspiration to work in the juvenile justice system, she said it started with her Girl Scout Gold Award project while she was in high school. For this project, she facilitated anti-gang and anti-substance abuse workshops in inner city after-school programs and mentored many students whose older siblings were

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Student Spotlight

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incarcerated. These children have shaped her career goals and encouraged her to focus on incarcerated youth and juvenile justice law at law school after she completes a fellowship that will allow her to work with children and public policy. “I think it is vital that our incarcerated youth know that they are not forgotten,” Koonce said. “With their stories, my focus shifted from preventative measures, to looking at what happens to at-risk youth once they slip through the cracks.” Aside from her time working with youth, Koonce enjoys spending time with her small, yet close, circle of friends who she said helps her keep her balance of work and play. “I’m honest with my friends when I am overwhelmed because they are able to lift me spiritually when I am not able to lift myself,” she said. “All of my friends are incredibly driven, so we also make sure that we make quality time with each other through phone dates, lunches, or dinner parties.” Similarly, her Christian faith has been a source of inspiration during her walk in life. “God’s guidance has brought me further than I could have ever imagined for myself.” As she prepares to journey on in life, upon graduation, Koonce already knows that she will miss Carolina and its people. “I love having intellectually stimulating conversations with peers and professors,” she said, “and something tells me that once I get out in the real world, these will be few and far between.”

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

Aaron Dodson

September 29, 2011 marked a historic day for the United States. Just weeks after the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, another hero of the Armed Forces was honored –only this time in a different fashion. During a ceremony at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Marcia Anderson became the first AfricanAmerican woman to receive a second star as a general in the U.S. Army. She received this title after previously becoming the highest-ranked African-American woman in the Army from her promotion to brigadier general. Although a veteran with 32 years of service, Anderson accidentally began her military career after signing up for military science, a course she believed would fill her science requirement. Since then, she has received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Creighton University, a juris doctorate degree from Rutgers University School of Law and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College. After completing her eight-year military service commitment, she decided to re-enlist in the reserves as a captain with the duty of training soldiers. General Anderson’s military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge and Physical Fitness Badge. Marcia Anderson sees her latest achievement as the result of what former Black soldiers made possible. “This is for people like him who had dreams deferred,” explained Anderson during the ceremony in reference to her father who once had hopes of flying bombers during World War II. With her promotion to second star general, Anderson will move to the office of the chief of the U.S. Army Reserve in Washington, D.C. In her eyes, “it’s a day that black soldiers who fought during the Civil War or the Tuskegee Airmen could never have imagined.”

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about whether Conrad Murray is responsible for the death of Pop Icon Michael Jackson. Discussions have mostly focused on his responsibilities as a physician and his commitment to the Hippocratic Oath, an oath taken by doctors and health professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically. I feel that people are focusing on Conrad Murray as guilty to deflect from the fact that Michael Jackson was a drug addict. Drug addicts who go untreated will eventually overdose. It first must be understood that Michael had been addicted to drugs for years and was abusing the services of Dr. Murray to feed his habit. When his autopsy was revealed to the public, it was reported that he had Lorazepam, Midazolam, Diazepam, Lidocaine, Ephedrine and Propofol in his system. While some of these drugs were not found in high concentrations, they were still within his bloodstream and that fact does not paint a very convincing picture of Jackson as a victim. He clearly was misusing the drugs given to him by Dr. Murray and likely taking higher doses than prescribed.

KADIJA LEWIS

Further evidence of his abuse of drugs is seen in videos of Michael Jackson taken before his death. He frequently would slur his words and would repeatedly ask for “milk” short for “milk of amnesia,” the slang word commonly associated with Propofol. I am sure when Dr. Murray accepted the position as Michael’s physician he was naïve and ignorant to this troubled icon’s addiction. A doctor’s job is to make their patient feel as comfortable as possible and to tend to their wants and needs to the best of their ability. That is what Dr. Murray was paid for. Murray even said that Jackson would say, “Just make me sleep, no matter what.” While Conrad Murray may be guilty of not weaning Michael Jackson off the drugs, he is in no way responsible for Michael making the decision to abuse sedatives. Although he was Michael’s doctor, Murray was not his mother. Murray was doing what he was hired to do: Michael Jackson’s physician. He listened to his complaints and prescribed him what was necessary, he did not tell him to misuse these drugs. It’s time for people to face the facts: Michael Jackson, although an incredible musician and pop icon, was a drug addict and his habit killed him.

Is Doctor Conrad Murray responsible for the death of Michael Jackson? I’m sure the last thing Michael Jackson thought in 1988 when he was composing “Smooth Criminal” was that he, himself, would become the alleged victim of one three decades later. I remain confused as to how there can be any debate on whether Dr. Conrad Murray is responsible for the premature death of this beloved icon. The evidence in favor of the prosecution is more than overwhelming, and it is my opinion that the ongoing involuntary manslaughter trial is merely a courtesy being extended to him as an American entitled to a fair trial. The question here isn’t “Did he do it?” or “Did he intentionally, maliciously, kill Michael?” But, “Is he inadvertently responsible for the death?” Due to rampant insomnia, Jackson sought Murray’s medical attention. When our health is at stake, it’s only conventional that we seek the help of professionals. Why? Because we know them to have better judgment, but, most of all, because we trust them to make the right decisions to ensure, to the best of their ability, that we heal –or in this case, live. In other words, we expect them to be responsible –a memo Murray clearly missed.

MBALLA MENDOUGA

This man took the Hippocratic Oath, a historical pledge taken by doctors and other healthcare professionals where they swear to practice medicine ethically. Among other concepts in the oath, he swore to “avoid the twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism,” the idea that some cures in fact do more harm than good. I’m no doctor, but I can only assume that prescribing a heavy sedative, Propofol, often used for general anesthesia, combined with eight doses of Lorazepam, an anxiety medication, for a patient complaining about sleep deprivation sounds a bit like overtreatment. Some argue that Murray simply made a mistake. Granted, but it was a very large one that essentially cost Jackson his life. Should all mistakes go unpunished, especially, when their maker attempts to cover it up? Not only did Murray never mention Propofol to the paramedics or the hospital staff, but Alberto Alavrez, Jackson’s bodyguard, also testified that after Jackson started showing signs of death, Murray instructed him to place vials from Jackson’s bedside cabinet in a bag. Additionally, he told him to remove an intravenous drip containing what looked like a bottle of Propofol from its stand. If that doesn’t scream, “Oops …,” I don’t know what does. Embarrassingly enough, others maintain that Jackson asked for the drugs – so, “Was [Murray] going to say ‘no’ to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop?” Since when is being star-struck an excuse for irresponsibility. Murray abused his status as a doctor to supply a potentially harmful drug to a demanding patient – again, violating the oath he took in an infinite number of ways.

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State of Blackness

THE BLACK SNOB

Blacks and the Online Media Market

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Who or is the Black Snob? Is he or she a Black person “acting uppity?” Are Black Snobs wealthy Black people, like Oprah? Or, is it a classy beverage? No, the Black Snob is none of those things. The Black Snob is an online blog designed for informative commentary and witty

Nicholas Johnson cultural critiques. Political and pop commentary are found on the site. Essentially, no topics are off limits for BlackSnob.com.

The site has gained national notoriety since the 2008 Presidential election, garnering over two million readers and receiving awards from the Black Weblog Awards for Best Political Blog (2010 & 2011) and the “Shining Star Awards” from Black Politics On The Web for Best Overall Political Blog and Best New Political Blog (2008). The person behind this cyber hot-spot is Danielle Belton. When it comes to the content of her blog, Belton says “I love writing about current events and politics. And the Republican primary has been rich for fodder. I also look for cultural, gender and racial issues to write about as well.” Belton has an extensive history in writing, with 10 years of experience writing and advertising for The Bakersfield Californian. Yet, due to a tightened media market, financial constraints and personal issues, Belton left California and the newspaper industry and returned home to St. Louis, Mo. Missing the experience of writing, Belton began writing her own personal blog, which eventually culminated into the creation of The Black Snob in 2007. Since then Belton has been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS’ To the Contrary, Time Magazine, New York Times, The Observer (UK) and various other mainstream media outlets. “My goal has always been to simply be a writer and to make enough money to not starve at it. My goals really haven’t changed that much since college, in that my dream is to make a living as a writer and eventually be a successful, published author” Belton says. According to the Media Audit’s 2010 National Report, African-American adults engage in Internet-use more so than any other adult group in the U.S. The internet has become the “new frontier” for people looking to express themselves freely, thereby presenting a unique opportunity for minorities. Looking at the success of The Black Snob, one can see the potential for Blacks to gain national attention through self-expression, initiative and creativity online; especially considering the financial and professional limitations of the traditional media industry. Belton says “There are a lot of advantages in that if you have the drive, interest and talent, you can hurdle over the middleman in getting published.” The Black Snob is the perfect example of the growing presence of Blacks on the growing online media market. Not only should it serve as inspiration, but it should also be one of the links on everyone’s “Favorites List.”

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Social change

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OCCUPY WALL STREET

The Occupy Wall Street protests continue to prove the power of speech and assembly. Now, Chapel Hill and Carrboro have marked their place in the movement.

Taylor Fulton

They seek to expose the ways in which the richest 1 percent of the nation unfairly controls the economy affecting the remaining 99 percent of Americans adversely.

On Tarheel Territory

The movement that started on American soil has gone international. In Japan, protesters stand silently with the nation’s flag taped over their mouths. In Hong Kong, masked protesters lie indefinitely in front of crowded walkways. In Frankfurt, protesters stand in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank. Images similar to these can be seen in over 82 other countries. The movement – which began on September 17, 2011 – started at Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District and has since spread across the nation. Now, the once citywide movement has since been deemed a counter-response to the overwhelming power world banks have over corporations on Wall Street and, most importantly, the government. Protesters say corporate greed caused the current global economic downturn, including the recession. In this nation alone, it is arguable that corporate greed and devaluation of the democratic system have led to roughly a 10 percent unemployment rate, a $1 trillion dollar national debt and increased distrust of government among the middle and lower class.These effects are echoed in almost every nation in the world. Just outside of UNC-Chapel Hill libraries, a highly decorated, bright pink octopus beckoned students to “Octopy” Chapel Hill and Carrboro. There was even a full-on protest on the steps of Wilson Library. Bright, chalk-written announcements also lined the brick walls near Bingham and Greenlaw. And as you walked down Franklin Street, perhaps to get your daily fill of gelato or mail a letter, Occupy Wall Street protesters stood gathered in front of the post office joining the other 1,500 protests happening around the world. But will the movements actually lead to effective change in the nations that so earnestly want and need it? The timing may be just right or totally wrong. In the United States, the protests coincide with the upcoming 2012 presidential elections. As multiple Republican candidates seek to grasp the party nomination and President Obama continues his bid for re-election, recognition of the power of these movements may either force candidates to address corporate greed or be dwarfed by what many see as a more pressing issue. In Rome, the movement took a violent turn as images of burning cars and men in black skull caps threatened to endanger the peaceful nature of the protests. In the same way, positive images of unity and a common interest in the well-being of the nation have also emerged. These images have inspired a generation to be revolutionary and demonstrate to protect millions of global citizens. The Occupy Wall Street protests have inspired people to take a more active role in future of their government. Chapel Hill is no different from big cities like New York, in that, our community has acted on that inspiration. Will you?

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Blacks in the spotlight

BLACK WOMEN IN REALITY TV

Is it Good or Bad?

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It all started with Public Enemy’s famous hype man Flavor Flav and his hit VH1 show, Flavor of Love. Since then, a string of reality shows featuring AfricanAmericans have broadcast nationwide. In January 2006, Flavor Of Love brought female contestants competing for Flavor Flav’s attention into the national spotlight.

Brianna Rhodes Numerous reality shows profiling Black women have followed the Flavor of Love. Most have gotten mixed reviews from television critics and the general public.

Shows like Flavor of Love, For the Love of Ray J, Basketball Wives and The Real Housewives of Atlanta have arguably cast a negative light on Black women. Many note the degrading and stereotypical factors as reasons to discourage viewership. These shows often portray Black women as loud and angry. They often seem superficial and unintelligent. Black women in reality television are not great representations of actual Black women because it often perpetuates stereotypes of African-American women. Shows like Basketball Wives and The Real Housewives of Atlanta also exaggerate drama and arguments between cast members. Basketball Wives doesn’t portray the reality of being married to an NBA player. The cast is made up of ex-wives, girlfriends and side-chicks whining about infidelity and divorce. The Real Housewives of Atlanta features women living beyond their means. Its cast members tout their money and class but, in actuality, they often don’t have either. There isn’t an episode in which the women have civil or intellectual conversations. Instead, many episodes include table flipping and throwing of alcoholic beverages. It is entertaining, but hardly positive. There seems to be an imbalance as it pertains to the portrayal of Black women on television. The nation should see Black women who “keep it real.” Shows like Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is, Tiny and Toya, Monica: Still Standing and Tia &Tamera offer more accurate portrayals of AfricanAmerican women. Despite these arguably more positive shows featuring African-American women, the imbalance of media images still exist. This imbalance in positive imagery fuels a little-known controversy concerning Nelson Mandela and his granddaughters. The three women have an upcoming reality show that will air early next year. They have been called the “African Kardashians.” This nickname has led many to argue that the reality show would be inappropriate for the Mandela clan. Swati Dlamini, granddaughter of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, said, “The show will be about our lives as young, Black women; we are not wearing ‘I’m a Mandela T-shirts.’” According to BET, they want the show to honor the Mandela legacy. “It’s not going to detract from the dignity of Nelson Mandela,” said U.S. producer Rick Leed. South African Director Graeme Swanepoel added, “This is about three women breaking away from the legacy to find their own feet.” The Mandela’s new show is slated to air in 2012. If the goals of the cast, producer and director are fulfilled they may be able to change the image of Black women on television.

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Black Relationships

SHOUT OUT TO THE BALLERS…AND CAT-CALLERS Lauren Houston

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“What up, ma?” “Lookin’ sexy tonight!” “Hey, you in the pink shirt!” The aforementioned phrases and “pick-up lines” are hurled at many women on a daily basis. They come from men who are, obviously, unsure of how to get a woman’s attention and, therefore, attempt to catch her eye with bold –often embarrassing– statements. Cat-calling is largely unsuccessful. The men and their cat-calls are usually ignored –and for a good reason. There are many different ways to obtain a woman’s attention –and cat-calling isn’t one of them. Several college men at UNC-Chapel Hill agreed that rude cat-calls simply do not work. A common method among college men is looking for a mutual friend. Lee Chapman, a sophomore, said that he watches who a woman hangs out with and finds someone they both know in order to get to know her. He finds that this method often offers plenty opportunities to get to know women on campus. Jonathan Sanchez, a senior, also uses this approach. He said, “I never approach a random girl. If you know a [mutual] friend then there’s a better chance.” If they are not in a group setting, college women say honest conversation is always a winning approach. Carissa Davis, a junior, said that she would more than likely talk to a guy if he simply “talks” to her. Davis said a guy has a better chance with her, “If he is very sincere and says ‘hey, how are you?’ wanting to get to know me rather than to just get with me.” Davis said she hears catcalls almost every time she goes out. When men have genuine conversation with her, she gives them “brownie points.” When a man has a decent conversation with a woman, not only is it respectful, but it also shows an investment in time with a woman and a desire to develop a real connection. Confidence is a major factor in the cat-and-mouse chase that results in a college relationship. It is often the key element for any approach. Sanchez said, “You have to seem like you’ve done this before.” Chapman added, “If you’re not confident enough in yourself, you basically have no chance.” Displaying confidence and honesty heightens a man’s chances of a successful encounter with an unfamiliar woman, not a lewd statement about a her appearance. What’s the bottom-line? Cut out the cat-calling –it is offensive and does not work.

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black Relationships

INTERRACIAL DATING

CULTURE, STEREOTYPES, AND MISCONCEPTIONS Savannah Copeland

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Would you ever consider marrying outside your race? Regarding general interracial marriage in the United States, the Pew Research Center reports that one in six marriages are now interracial and 16 percent of Black marriages are interracial. In addition, while 22 percent of Black males interracially married in 2008, only nine percent of Black females interracially married in 2008, making Black women “the least likely of any race or gender to marry outside their race and the least likely to get married at all.” Why aren’t there more Black interracial marriages, and why are so few Black women dating and marrying interracially? Racism and stereotypes play a huge role in the low rate of Black interracial dating and marriage for both sexes. Colorism, the idea that certain skin tones (especially lighter ones) are “better” than others (especially darker ones), is not only present in Black communities in the U.S., but many non-Black groups throughout the U.S. and the world. Nonetheless, some non-Black racial and ethnic groups see blackness, as well as other physical traits common to many Black people (i.e. kinky hair), as something “ugly.” This association of blackness with “bad” is connected to the many negative stereotypes attached to Black people in the U.S. For both Black men and women, these stereotypes include being uneducated, poor and hypersexual (a label historically given to nonwestern people and women in general). For Black women, the stereotypes concerning them further include being a young, unwed mother and being an “overly-independent women” who can’t handle relationships. These stereotypes also include being perceived as loud and obnoxious (think “Sheneneh” from Martin Lawrence’s show) and being perceived as “exotic,” in the sense that non-Black people would date them to “see what it’s like,” but not realistically take them home and marry them. For Black men, the list includes being violent, jail-bait and dead-beat fathers, much like those who frequent The Maury Show. An example of the negative effect that racism and stereotypes have had on Black interracial dating is the racism displayed toward Jessica Greene, a junior pharmacy major at UNC, from the father of a past boyfriend (whom I’ll refer to as “Jeffery”) who is Native American and white. “The majority of our dating was secret because his dad hated me. When I visited Jeffery’s house, he told his parents I was a friend, and his dad constantly questioned our ‘friendship’ in front of me. We even got kicked out a pow wow, and I knew it was because I was Black,” Jessica said. Another example comes from UNC junior Cheyenne Solorio, who is Latina and Native American and dating junior Marcia Blackstock, who is Black. “My dad’s side of the family opposes me dating black men and doesn’t know I’m gay; I can only imagine how they will react to find that I’m dating a Black female,” Solorio explained. Racism, stereotypes and misconceptions about other races are displayed on both sides. However, this can be seen as another reason why more Black people are not marrying outside of their race. In the case of UNC junior Tania Santos, whose fiancé is Black, stereotypes about Mexicans made her in-laws hate her initially. “When I told them I was pregnant with their grandchild, they expressed doubts about the child being his because of the idea that Mexican women are sexually promiscuous, and in a previous relationship with another Black male, his family expressed how they couldn’t help but associate Mexicans with crime.”

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black relationships

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Courtesy of Creative Commons

Cultural difference plays another part in limiting Black interracial relationships. For example, when Andrew Kao, a former UNC student who is Taiwanese, told his mother he was dating a Black female. She initially opposed it less because of race and more because of cultural differences. “My parents would like me to marry a Chinese woman mainly because of the cultural familiarity,” he explained. These ideals, ones that have been perpetuated across generations, are very much still present in our society today. The questions that remain are when will we break the stereotypes that haunt who we sit with at lunch, who we befriend and who we love?

My dad’s side of the family opposes me dating Black men and doesn’t know I’m gay; I can only imagine how they will react to find that I’m dating a Black female. – Cheyenne Solorio

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taking action

GENDER NON-SPECIFIC HOUSING

Brittany Johnson

Coming to Carolina, many students may ask, what does this university not offer? With one of the most renowned athletics departments in the country, some of the nation’s top research facilities, more than 650 student organizations and school spirit that could turn the deepest red to Carolina blue, what could any school have on Carolina? Well, according to UNC sophomores Kevin Claybren and Sean Webb, Carolina, with all its perks, is still lacking. Since January, Claybren and Webb have been petitioning for Gender Non-specific Housing on UNC’s campus; a luxury that 98 universities around the country possess – 32 of them being public. I sat down with Claybren and Webb to discuss their fight for Gender Non-specific Housing at the University and why they feel that without it UNC is failing to uphold the reputation it claims.

Q

21 What sparked you to start this petition for Gender Non-specific Housing at Carolina?

Kevin: Well, Duke had proposed it last spring … their students headed a student initiative. And then The Daily Tar Heel wrote about. So one of my really good friends Jillian Reed wrote the DTH and asked how we can get it on this campus. The Housing Department, Larry Hicks and Gay Perez, responded saying that students needed to initiate it. That was the initial conversation about it. I personally had started doing research in class about gender non-specific housing beforehand. Stuff like how to implement it and how students at other schools around the country do it. I had the knowledge behind it and Jillian had the leadership. So we met with housing and they said they needed to see if students really wanted this. So we started a petition. Q What do you feel like that is what the whole fight for Gender Non-specific Housing is about? Providing an environment for people to feel comfortable? Both: Yes, definitely. Sean: You know, coming into college we all wonder if the person that will be living with us is someone that could harm me, or make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. And being able to pick whatever person you feel will be most accepting to you and won’t discriminate against you for your sexuality or disability or any other thing that you might have, is important. The key thing is comfortablity and security in your living situation. The worst thing is for you to come home and worry that you might get dropped kicked in the mouth. (Laughs) Q

We are laughing but I know that is real.

Kevin: Some people on this campus have to come home and deal with hateful things being said to them, they are not living in a safe environment. At the end of the day mental health is something that is serious. It can affect your academics, your ability to go out, your matriculation rate and family life. LGBTQ individuals have a high suicide rate already. It just impacts that even more when you don’t have that safety and comfortabilty in your own room. Comfortability is important. You go through so much throughout the day and you just want to come home and be yourself. Living with someone who can respect your lifestyle is really not experienced by all students on this campus. Q

It looks like students have been pretty supportive. How many signatures do you have?

Kevin: Right now we have 2,807. And of those signatures, 716 students said they would like to live in gender non-specific housing if the option comes to our campus. We also have the support of 53 student organizations, student committees and departments. It is a wide group of organizations that have supported us. To name some: SGA Executive Branch, Feminine Students United, GLTBSA alliance, NAACP, Student Actions with Workers, Young Democrats, Students United for Immigration Equality, Vietnamese Student Association, Carolina Hispanic Association, Campus Y Executive Board and 28 of their committees, RHA, Student Congress, Black Student Movement, UNC Women’s Center and Graduate Profession Students. Just to call some of the big names. Q Do you feel, overall from the coalition of people pushing this petition to members of the LGBTQ community, that the UNC community provides an accepting environment?

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taking action

Kevin: Honestly, I feel like UNC does its best in certain circumstances. With proper student leadership and administration it could become better. Right now I feel like UNC is doing its best. Change happens, it doesn’t happen as quickly as we want it to. Gender identity and gender expression only just recently got added into our non-discrimination policy. But UNC is progressing. Sean: It is important to remember that it is student initiated. You have to have students say this is what we want we want it now and we are not going to wait. Kevin: If you don’t have students saying they want and working for it, then it is not. This initiative has gotten this far because it is student led. Q So with this need for student leadership do you feel that the general student body has been receptive to the petition? Sean: Definitely. From my own personal experience, it is more surprising when students didn’t accept it. Kevin: With the 53 departments, student organizations and committees that support us, they are all based on a different premises and it surprised me a lot that these organizations are in no way political. And even though this is more of a social justice issue, many of these culturally based organizations were moved enough by this topic to support this petition; to come out of their comfort zone. I feel like that is a unifying process. Going back to the coalition aspect that everyone cares about this issue. Granted there was education that had to go into it because people don’t really know. But once people start hearing the stories and start learning the facts they are like wow why don’t we already have this. Q As Black students, do you feel that the Black community has been supportive? Kevin: I would say 75 percent of the Black students have been all for it. With that being said, most of them were Black women. I have had dialogue with Black males and it was … dialogue. I feel like I educated them at the end of the day. I have gotten no’s, which is okay as long as I feel like I have educated you about what it going on and if you still can’t support it then that is your business. But that 75 percent is saying something. I am happy that BSM and NAACP did end up giving their support because if they hadn’t this would have been a different conversation. Q What are some obstacles you all have faced during this process? Sean: I think the biggest obstacle was gathering student support.

22 I mean I would say that only because it took a lot of hands-on work. You had to explain to students, send out emails, get in the pit, you had to be really hands-on. Kevin: I can say that 98 percent of the time I have positive feedback. But it is that 2 percent that are not willing to see the problem at hand. (Shakes head) It is okay if you disagree, but you have to understand what is going on. That has been one of the biggest things. The administration has been supportive. It hasn’t been easy but advocacy is like that. If you want it, you get it done. I can also say the time constraint was another obstacle. November 17th is the next board of trustees meeting and that is where we are hoping that Chancellor Thorp, Vice Chancellor Crisp present the proposal, the petitions and the letters of support to them. Q We have spoken about the positive aspects of this housing option but what are some of the negative aspects of this housing alternative? Or ways that people have used it negatively at other institutions? Kevin: The biggest thing people are scared of is the boyfriend/ girlfriend thing. I immediately combat that with we are not promoting cohabitation. We are not promoting boyfriends and girlfriends living together. Q So what do you think passing this petition would do for UNC? Sean: I think that UNC, being in the South, it has the stereotype of it not being inclusive. That detracts perspective students. But seeing gender non-specific housing as an option would make it seem more inclusive. It would really attract more students. Kevin: Definitely. It would attract students. But also it would put us at the standard that we claim to be. We claim to be one of the top public universities in this country. Why don’t we already have this? We are lagging behind. It would be a stamp of inclusion and it would open up a lot of doors. It would be the first public university in the Bible belt to have this option. It would mean a lot to the people on this campus. Sean: You go through the college application process and it is basically about them trying to persuade you that they have what you want. If I had seen that something I could get out of my school was a safe living environment that definitely would have convinced me. Kevin: Right now there are students looking at this school and comparing it to other schools that already have this option. And they are like, “well I am not going to come to UNC because you don’t have this option … you are lacking.”

Executive Board Brittany Johnson

— Editor‐in‐Chief

Jeffrey Sullivan

— Creative Director

Averi Harper

— Managing Editor

Toyosi Oyelowo

— Associate Editor

Ebony Shamberger — Copy Editors Kadija Lewis Jasmine Nesi

— PR Coordinator

Briana Harper

— Alumni Relations

Contributing Writers Savannah Copeland Deserè Cross Aaron Dodson Taylor Fulton Darrilyn Fisher Tasia Harris Lauren Houston Kristen Johnson Mballa Mendouga Tyler Rouse Samantha Wilson

Interested in joining Black Ink? Contact Brittany Johnson at uncblackink@gmail.com for more information

Photographers John Daniels Nick Johnson

Designers Jasmine Lamb

Our mission remains: “If Blackness can be transformed into pictures and words, we intend to do so, by any means necessary.” *The Black Ink is a recognized publication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This issue was paid for, in part, by student activity fees. **If you have questions or concerns about the Black Ink please email uncblackink@gmail.com


Black Ink - November 2011 Issue