Guest speaker Cooper talks to students in honor of Women’s History Month

Terra Harter, Reporter

Dr. Britney Cooper, assistant professor of women and gender studies at Rutgers University, spoke to students on Thursday about the often overlooked issue of police brutality in the African American women’s community.

Cooper said the speech was “a demand for visibility, accountability and recognition for the lives of innocent African American women.”

The speech shed light on African American women such as Sandra Bland, Mya Hall and Natasha McKenna to name a few, whose lives have been put at stake at the expense of the seemingly never-ending fight for equal treatment and opportunity.

These police brutality related deaths touched the hearts of many at SUNY Buffalo State from all ages and genders.

“I am a black woman and I want to be informed of what I can do to help because this could happen to me,” said Sydney Favors, a freshman history major at Buffalo State.

“I feel like people set this issue aside because they see us making progress in the media, but we aren’t. Hundreds of innocent women are still being killed,” added Favors.

“I am very concerned about the future for of my daughters and grandchildren,” said Buffalo State alumna Barbara Nevergold, who majored in French education.

“If we continue to talk about institutional racism, we can make people aware,” Nevergold said. “This is an important topic for all ethnicities.”

The speech consisted of moments of shock and despair for the countless lost lives and the occasional comedic relief that not only made Cooper’s personality shine, but added a genuine sense of passion to the issue she spoke about.

When asked what sparked her passion to pursue women and gender studies and why it is important to her to make people aware of this issue, Cooper said:

“In college, I ran for the student government. My clothing was policed because I wasn’t dressed ‘feminist’ enough. This affected my life personally and I wanted to make a difference.”

When asked what students can do to help spread the word on this issue, Cooper said “talk about it.”

“Take advantage of the classes that Buffalo State offers on women and gender studies,” Cooper said. “Learn what it means to be a good ally.”


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