University of Maryland NAACP Chapter Hosts State of Black Leadership Panel

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby visited UMD last Tuesday at the tenth annual State of Black Leadership Panel, hosted by the the University of Maryland’s NAACP chapter, to call for change in current racial issues pertaining to the African American community America.

Panelists included university professor Rashawn Ray, UMD Hip Hop Orchestra founder Marcus Moody, the UMD NAACP chapter’s former president Ceaira Thomas, doctoral student Renina Jarmon and social activist Benjamin Jancewicz.

Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby gives the keynote speech at the State of Black Leadership panel. Photo courtesy of University of Maryland NAACP chapter
Courtesy: photography by University of Maryland NAACP chapter

Mosby spoke about the discriminatory comments she received as a woman when she became the youngest chief prosecutor of any major city in America, as well as the criticisms she faced from officials when she made the decision to prosecute six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death.

Gray’s death resulted in protests in Baltimore, which brought widespread attention to the case. The officers prosecuted were not convicted. “When you are a young black man living in the city of Baltimore, you are an endangered species,” Mosby said.

Mosby encouraged the audience to do more than just vote. “You have to be the change that you want to see,” Mosby said. “We have a reason to be outraged but what is our strategy?”

The panelists continued the conversation with topics about gender and sexuality inequality in the Black Live Matter movement, whether protesting is still effective and the next steps for college students.

“Black Lives Matter was started by three black queer women, but yet the activists we pay attention to and the names and incidents that we focus on tend to be male,” Ray said.

The panelists agreed that standing for the Black Lives Matter movement requires people to stand up for all who make up black lives.

“We have to stand up for each other regardless of sexual orientation. If you leave anyone out, you’re not a part of the movement,” Moody said.

The panelists also discussed the Obama administration and its efforts to help black people.

In electing a black president, “we saw the racist head come out even more,” Ray said. “If people voted for [Obama] in droves, then we need to hold him accountable for certain things that are going on.”

Freshman sociology major Elena Lonskaya  and freshman biology major Betsy Wang both agreed with the panelists about advocating for the minority. “If you ever catch yourself in a monolithic space, you should speak up,” Lonskaya said.

“When you hear people being ignorant, you should correct them on it, because they sometimes just don’t know,” Wang said. “Every bit helps.”

DISCLOSURE: Lauryn Froneberger serves as co-editor-in-chief of Pulsefeedz. Froneberger is also the president of the NAACP. The NAACP and Froneberger did not influence this article’s contents in any way, shape or form.