Winter 2015| Posse Atlanta Quarterly


Brandeis Scholar Facilitates Campus Vigil, Town Hall Meeting

In the wake of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Brandeis University sophomore Justin Cates was asked to co-lead an administrative council by Andrew Flagel, Brandeis’ senior vice president for students and enrollment. In only a week’s time, Justin helped spearhead the planning for a campus vigil and town hall meeting.

“Bringing the Brandeis community together in solidarity over the atrocities that had recently taken place was important, but I wanted us to engage in a meaningful dialogue over the history of racial profiling, police brutally, and institutional racism as well as address the frustration and concerns people have over these issues,” says Justin.

The vigil, attended by several hundred members of the campus community, featured presentations by Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence, Dean of Students Jamele Adams, Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan, and a university chaplain. Several campus organizations—Men of Color Alliance, Women of Color Alliance, Black Student Organization, and the African and Afro-American Studies Department—were also mobilized to contribute to the event. President Lawrence and two professors led a discussion forum during the town hall meeting.

“Students don’t come to Brandeis just to learn about the world or to understand the world, they come here to affect the world,” said President Lawrence. “It was an honor to be with so many members of this amazing community.”

Justin is pursuing an independent interdisciplinary major in mass communications and communication studies that allows him to explore his interests in demographic privilege, class studies and urban policy.

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