CSUN students from the Pan African Studies course, “The Black Man in Contemporary Times,” presented posters concerning the struggles men of color face in today’s society.
The poster session, officially known as the Bi-Annual Men of Color Enquiry and Student Research Poster Session, took place in the Grand Salon Tuesday afternoon.
Cedric Hackett, the professor of the class and the assistant chair of the Pan African Studies department, first started this event last semester in an effort to bring awareness to the complex issues that men of color endure. The goal of this poster session is also to embolden students to speak to a community of their peers in a professional setting.
“(Students form) micro-investigative groups and get to pick whatever topics they want based on the content in the class,” said Hackett, adding that this project is one that students work on throughout the entire semester. “We’re taking the classroom to the community, so to speak, the campus community.”
Hackett explained that though the project is not scientific, it gives the students an experience that they would not normally have in the undergraduate level.
Nearly 100 CSUN community attended the event. In addition to the poster presentations, a student performed the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
The event also featured guest speaker Dyrell Foster, a Rio Hondo College student affairs professional for more than 15 years.
“We see in the media…what a Black man is supposed to be typically doesn’t include having a college degree,” Foster said. “These factors impact black males’ ability and interest in learning in an academic setting at a very young age.”
A total of 11 posters were showcased to the CSUN community. A few of the topics consisted of black men in the music industry, black men in the penal system, black men in the absence of a father and many more.
During his speech Foster explained that student engagement is the time and effort that students devote to educational activities in college and that that energy is usually a great predictor of student success.
“Research suggests that black males are not encouraged socially to achieve academic success,” said Foster. “This is a perception and a reality that black males must overcome.”
This event is hosted once a semester and this semester marked the second time it has been organized.