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Professors from NIU weigh in on how to best support racial justice

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford protests have drawn in hundreds of supporters from different communities and backgrounds. Many say it's the conversations outside of those protests that will keep the movement going.

A question many supporters who are not black have is how to be a stronger ally in the fight against racial injustice.

"We have to start having intercultural conversations," said NIU Associate Director for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor for Black Studies Dr. Joseph Flynn.

Dr. Flynn says the first step is to listen and then to self-educate.

"If there is someone who is African American or Latino or Asian American or Indigenous American doesn't feel like it's their responsibility to teach you, understand that comes from somewhere. It's 2020 and you are still asking these questions," said Dr. Flynn.

The professor says police brutality is a small part of systemic racism. He says these issues are not African American issues but American issues that impact all communities. He advises people to look to resources like literature and pop culture to better understand the realities people of color face.

"There have always been a number of white anti-racist advocates throughout American history. White folks have to look at those examples to find role models for themselves," said Flynn.

"There is that expression that when one person is not free than we are all not free," said Associate Professor of History Dr. Stanley Arnold.

Dr. Arnold says more diverse dialogue is crucial when seeking change but says there is a long road to recovery.

"These underlining conditions have taken decades to develop, centuries. It's going to take a long time. The healing process is going to take a very very long time," said Dr. Arnold.

Listening, reflecting and researching in the hopes it will generate a change in the future.

Cassandra Bretl

Multimedia Journalist
Cassandra is the morning reporter for 13 News Today.
She joined the WREX team in July of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a major, minor and a certificate.
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