A crowd of around 40 people from campus and the community gathered in the Union at UW-Milwaukee College to hear speaker Reggie Jackson propose the question, “Do black lives matter to law enforcement?”
“All of us have been cheated out of knowing what our history really looks like,” said Jackson.
Jackson is the head historian of American’s Black Holocaust Museum. James Cameron, who at the time of his death was the only known survivor of a lynching in the United States, founded the museum in Milwaukee in 1988. The physical museum closed its doors in 2008 and became a virtual museum.
Jackson said people don’t want to hear about the ugly parts of the country’s history. This leaves people blind. Until people fully learn about our history, there is no way for the country to heal and grow from it, he said.
“Even though we say that black lives matter, they really don’t,” he concluded. He went on to explain that black lives have been devalued for over 300 years.
Jackson’s presentation was entitled “Black Lives Matter 101: A History and Dialogue.” It was part two in a series of events that lead up to the Distinguished Lecture Series. Audience members showed up to receive a better understanding of police brutality.
This event was designed to give the audience a chance to gain historical context for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Jarrett English attended the event due to his relationship with Jackson.
“Reggie is a constant educator,” said English.
As part of the student organization Community Uprise, Alan Schultz came to this event because it tied into what he was doing. He hoped that his event would encourage people to take action and to not allow this to continue happening.
Jackson spends most of his time doing community outreach programs within the community and throughout the nation. He travels to these places, giving talks such as this one.
Along with the Student Association and Student Involvement, Sociocultural Programming Manager, Claudia Guzman worked all summer to come up with ways to explore the topic of Black Lives Matter.
One thing they knew for sure was this wasn’t a topic that could be quickly covered in a two-hour event. Because of this they planned a series of events that would complement the Distinguished Lecture Series.
The Black Lives Matter movement came into fruition after Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012.
According to The Guardian, last year out of the 1,146 people that were killed by police or in police custody, 306 of them were African American. Jackson said that this shows that black lives don’t matter to law enforcement.
Growing up, Jackson explained that he loved the police. He only saw them on television or handing out things to kids in the neighborhood. However, as he got older, his view of them changed because he said he became knowledgeable of what was going on in the country.
We continue to talk about this issue because black lives in this country have not mattered enough throughout the years, said Jackson. If it were not for social media this conversation wouldn’t be happening. It would hide from us like all the other ugly truths in our history, according to Jackson.
Jackson left the audience with two steps they could take to help things change. You must first be educated with what is occurring in the world instead of relying on the news to tell you everything. The last step is to advocate and support the families of anyone who has fallen victim to attacks.