By: Nick Mason, Staff Writer
The Comm442 conference meeting and management class hosted “Find Your Voice: COMMunity Engagement & Activism” in Van Bokkelen Hall Friday, April 22.
Speakers included Howard University professor Tia Tyree, Morgan State professor and Strategic Communication Department Chairperson OluwaTosin Adegbola and Towson alumni Adam Jackson, CEO of the grassroots organization Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, and social justice volunteer Doug Rose. Members of the Black Student Union, Student Government Association and Director of Civic Engagement & Leadership Chris Jensen also spoke.
The event focused on discovering individualism and effectively expressing oneself through various forms of media. The class worked on this project for most of the semester under their professor Marcella Lightfoot. Student Chelsea Bozzo said that the class split into multiple specialized groups.
Jensen explained that his office was created by students.
“When you have passion, you can start things on campus,” he said.
Tyree spoke of activism, public relations and ways to spread public awareness. She said that it is ideal to have the right person tell the right story when vocalizing and that it is important to have a voice sound authentic and real.
“Peers are more influential now than CEOs,” Tyree said.
Open houses, brochures, speeches, celebrity visits, programs and video were listed as ways to spread information. She recommended using more than just social media to reach out and “make noise and make news.”
Jackson became involved in activism when he witnessed racism on both an individual and institutional level. LBS carried over from an organization that was on campus at TU. He spoke of racism and how it is part of a system of institutions and also how privilege can affect one’s decision making.
Adegbola referenced Prince, the recently deceased musician and cultural icon, numerous times throughout her speech, as he represented freedom to her.
Adegbola asked the audience to think of three personal inspirations and whether they were also noise to others. She asked if their sound was a mimic of someone else’s and how copying others is natural and that as humans, we take pieces of others that we like and emulate them. As part of this active participation, students said they used their voice through their walk, their presentation, poetry, writing and film.
An activist for over 20 years, Rose told of his many adventures and experiences that led him to be an advocate for AIDS.
“I guess I found my voice for AIDS activism by accident,” Rose said.
Upon coming back to Baltimore from New York City, he learned of the various intersections of activism and began working with different groups of people.
“You gotta know who your supporters are and how to reach them,” Rose said. “The people who will support you are human beings.”