Revolutionary Scholars, a CSUN organization that assists formerly incarcerated and systems impacted students, hosted a remembrance ceremony to mourn the death of former CSUN student Quinten Thomas and also bring awareness to incarnation trauma on Nov. 5 in the University Student Union Grand Salon.
It has been eight months since Thomas was found dead in Los Angeles Twin Towers Correctional Facility after he was arrested in Van Nuys on March 2 and was found dead in his cell on March 9.
“What could be done to bring him justice? We must demand change and justice for Quinten,” said Martha D. Escobar, associate professor in the department of Chicana/o studies and advisor of Revolutionary Scholars, who hosted the ceremony. “There is a lack of representation for minorities in the system. We have to create a path for people like Quinten to have a better life.”
Dr. Cedric Hackett, professor in the department of Africana studies, said that even though he didn’t know Thomas personally, he still saw him as a family.
“He was part of the black community,” said Hackett. “He was a student, part of the CSUN community … We are losing too many black men and boys too soon. How do we protect them? We need to change these ways. Our humanity depends on it.”
Towards the end of the ceremony members of the organization of Dignity and Power Now (DPN) spoke on this incident. DPN is an LA-based organization that fights for the dignity and power of those who were affected by incarceration.
Michele Infante is a sexual assault survivor and the overseer of the DPN campaign. Infante briefly shared how she was brutally taken advantage of while under the care of police officers.
“Incarceration trauma is real! This judicial system is corrupt,” said Infante. “We have to make the change of Quinten dialogue and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The last to speak for Thomas was his girlfriend, Saharra White.
“The words that come to mind when I think of Quinten are: intelligent, ambitious, generous, protective, intuitive and loving,” said White, holding back her tears. “How could someone so kindhearted be taken away in such an awful way?”