Prairie View A&M launches center for race and justice

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (KTRK) -- Legislative bills named after George Floyd are still making their way through the legal system, but something tangible is already happening at Prairie View A&M University.

The Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice was brainstormed in June 2020, just months after Floyd's death sparked national headlines.

"The center is both a research policy and implementation center," said director Melanye Price. "That is, we want to have faculty engaged in research about the best ways to understand racism and race in the role of our past."

The center is named after the university's current president. It's not in a physical building yet, but the structure is there.

In addition to research, there will be symposiums, lectures and outreach to corporations on how to implement diversity.

Students will also have the chance to take a 'Race, Class and Gender in America' course in that building.

"At some point, we're hoping that that course will eventually become a required course that our students will have to take during their time here at Prairie View," Price said.

With everything that's happened this past year, and the nation having a social awakening -- at home and in the streets -- students and alum feel the time is right for this center.

"We spent a lot of time marching, a lot of time talking, a lot of time crying about things - so to have something that will actually be able to have action of what we're feeling, of what we're thinking, to bring it into a more tangible manifestation," Prairie View alum Rohan Walker said.

Even though a number of issues that will be discussed focus on Black, brown and other oppressed groups, the goal is for everyone to learn how racism and discrimination got here and work to fix it.

"There are lots of people I believe who are open of a multi-racial democracy, but don't understand the ways our society has been structured to keep some people on the top and some people on the bottom," Price said.

If you want to keep up with the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice, you can visit their website.

The next event, called "Black Life In The Shadow Of COVID", is scheduled for April 6.

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