Beginning March 23, the University hosted a two-day symposium titled "Black Lives Matter: Local Movements, Global Futures." The symposium sought to help Brandeis students relate their own experiences with the Black Lives Matter movement to those of other activists on a global scale. This board commends the University for recognizing the importance of this movement through the creation of this symposium.

The symposium’s events included campus-wide teach-ins, a social justice forum and four panel sessions featuring scholars from across the country. The teach-ins in particular emphasized the University’s core values of education. They were hosted by students as part of the class #BlackLivesMatter: The Struggle for Civil Rights from Reconstruction to the Present, taught by Prof. Chad Williams (AAAS). This board applauds the University for recognizing the importance of having student voices take an active role in the symposium. Hopefully, this two-day event will empower members of the community to become more involved in political and social activism.

Each day of the symposium concluded with a keynote address. Thursday’s keynote speaker was Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Friday featured Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor in Princeton University’s Department of African-American Studies and author of the book “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.”

The Brandeis campus community has repeatedly vocalized the importance of diversity and inclusion through movements like Ford Hall 2015 and through everyday discourse on campus. This event assisted in the extension of the discussion of these issues beyond the classroom setting. This board applauds the University for recognizing student interest and actively working to create events of relevance to the campus community. Many departments and courses encouraged students to attend events during the symposium. This was clearly evidenced by the massive turnout for the keynote addresses; both events were standing room only.

Brandeis’ mission statement asserts that the University “recognizes the need to analyze and address the ways in which social, cultural and economic inequalities affect power and privilege in the larger society and at Brandeis itself.” The creation of this symposium provided an opportunity for students to critically engage with a movement predicated on addressing the inequalities present in American society. This board recognizes the need for open forums for Brandeis community members to examine and digest the tenets and complexities of the Black Lives Matter movement.