SGA President Keyarra Forbes (left), graduate intern, Michelle Nickerson (center) watch student Shanakay Sweeny (right) discuss the relevant issues at the “Black Lives Matter” panel on Monday, April 4. Photo by James Lancy.

By Courtney Clarke, Live Wire Staff Writer

Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner and Walter Scott are a few names that garnered mainstream media attention due to their death at the hands of law enforcement officers. The killing of these and many other unarmed African Americans have sparked many protests, rallies and debates which have ultimately led to the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

The subject matter has since found its way onto the campus of Manchester Community College. The SGA organized a forum led by president Keyarra Forbes and Gordon Plouffe to discuss this issue that is not only affecting the Black community, but the American culture as a whole.

Many Americans take issue with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” because they feel it segregates and places influence on one particular race over others. Nevertheless, police brutality is something that is plaguing our society. We are hearing too many instances of preventable killings by those who are supposed to be protecting us. The level of trust and comfort when it comes to police officers is not particularly high in predominately black neighborhoods. That is why the need to discuss and openly share our experiences is greatly needed and appreciated.

The forum was very lively as both students and teachers engaged in an open and honest discussion on the matter of race, discrimination and how it factors in with the unnecessary killings of African Americans.

Graduate intern, Michelle Nickerson voiced her opinion on the issue of race by stating that people “fear the unknown.”

One particular question that Forbes asked that many seemed to take interest too was “is there a solution to the race conflict?”

Fellow student Brian Washington responded to this question by saying “the solution is ourselves. We all know right from wrong.” However, the scope for what is right and wrong varies from one individual to another.

Other solutions that came up during the forum to combat racism and police brutality included a more diverse and better trained police force, better media coverage, and just a better knowledge and understanding of other cultures.

This particular subject matter opens the door to so many other issues that that is damaging our country such as sexism, classism and homophobia. We can protest, hold forums and rally, but what are we actually changing.

America is facing the same challenges for decades, yet, we still have no solid solution. It kind of makes you wonder if Any Lives Matter!