UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Real Talk Series on Racial Injustice

Haneifah Ahmad, Reporter

After the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, people of all backgrounds are coming together to condemn acts of racial injustice. UNF’s community took the moment to acknowledge this reality. On June 9, The Commission of Diversity and Inclusion (CODI) launched a new virtual series titled REAL TALK. In this series, students, faculty, and staff discuss racial injustice and social change via zoom. In each series, each group voices what changes they would expect from UNF and from our community. Each REAL TALK session will last for an hour and 15 minutes.

At the beginning of this series, a small group of students and alumni came together to talk about what experiences they have gone through either on or off-campus. These experiences that are being discussed by the black student body may open the eyes of students and staff members that may not have experienced this themselves. The discussion brought up a series of topics like, prejudice, systematic racism, discrimination, and dominant culture. Black and brown communities have been facing these issues for years and this series, we begin to discuss that we want and need change. 

“We don’t want to despair over and over again. We just want change, a change that is over 400 years past due,” said Parvez Ahmed, professor of accounting and finance at the Coggin College of Business.

Ahmed read a passage from Martin Luther King Jr., this quote is about making an impact in our space or community and there is no such thing as a convenient time to do so, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season…”

Ahmed says this quote applies to white people and is extended to the black and brown community because Ahmed claims the community has taken its privileges for granted and is now facing the challenge of having been silent for too long.

Ahmed opened the discussion to the students who wanted to talk about their experience. Brittany Baker is a doctoral student with the Brooks College of Health in the physical therapy department. She is originally from south Florida. It was a culture shock when she arrived in Jacksonville, she said,

“I did not realize how southern it was…I am the only black female in my program. It was hard for me to come into this space not knowing how different it was going to be from where I grew up. The realm of [physical therapists] is not diverse either, so I keep floating in this space where I have to speak for the minority because I am the only one there.” 

Although UNF is a predominantly white institution, there are organizations for black and brown students. Kira Fellows has been involved in many organizations on campus, as well as Greek life. Fellows is the former Black Student Union President. She explained how black people are portrayed in sororities and fraternities. “Black people are in the background of their sororities and fraternities until it’s rush week or it’s time to post a picture and then you’re front and center.” Fellows states that black organizations have no problem catering to black people.

Although there are organizations that cater to black and brown students, Fellows finds there is a disconnect with the advisor of the black Greek life organizations. “Even in going through my experience in Greek life and being in a black Greek organization, the advisor who is in charge of our organization on campus is a white male.” 

The REAL TALK series will continue with sessions on Monday, June 15 from 4 to 5:15 p.m. for students and Tuesday, June 16 from 1 to 2:15 p.m. for faculty and staff.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

About the Contributor
Navigate Left
  • Outline of the UNF logo as the net for a ping pong table


    What does a post-tenure review process mean for UNF?

  • Column: Every body is a summer body


    Column: Every body is a summer body

  • FILE - Marchers make their way toward the St. Pete Pier in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 12, 2022, during a march to protest the controversial Dont say gay bill passed by Floridas Republican-led legislature. For many of those who live in Florida, recent months in 2023 have brought some changes — many linked to Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Martha Asencio-Rhine/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)


    AP: With all the politics and maneuvering, how is life in Florida changing for its residents?

  • Erica (left) and John Garwood (right). Photo courtesy the Mark Garwood Foundation.


    Substance abuse foundation expanding, bringing new scholarships to North Florida

  • Screenshot of the new version of UNFs myWings homepage. (Mallory Pace)


    There’s a new version of myWings, here’s how to find your stuff

  • (NIcole Geri/Unsplash)


    Navigating an ever-changing world, UNF professor on what’s next after graduation

  • WeChat on a phone with other messaging apps


    BOG WeChat ban builds barrier for international students

  • Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Outfielder Peyton Burdick #6 hitting a ball from a Nashville Sounds pitcher on April 19th, 2023 at 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville Florida.


    Through the eyes of a photographer: April

  • UNF players high fiving.


    Dominick Madonna: A veteran’s perspective on UNF baseball’s 2023 season

  • Lissie Morales, the president of Students for a Democratic Society, holds a homemade sign in front of Lazzara Hall where University of North Florida President Moez Limayem would later be inaugurated.


    Behind the students of activist group Students for a Democratic Society

Navigate Right

Comments (0)

Spinnaker intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, slurs, defamation, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and will be removed if they do not adhere to these standards. Spinnaker does not allow anonymous comments, and Spinnaker requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All UNF Spinnaker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest