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LU hosts unity in peace panel discussion

Forum panelists and moderatorLamar University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a “Unity and Peace Panel Discussion: Is the Dream Still Alive?” January 19.

Panelists discussed Dr. King’s life and service to society during the event held in the Landes Auditorium of the Galloway Business Building. Panelists representing the past, present and future reflected on the influence King’s fight for justice throughout history.

“One of the things I learned is that when it comes to making change or a movement is that fear plays a role in it,” said Jawanda Adams, a junior majoring in criminal justice. “When it comes to making a movement and change, people are more likely to participate in it if they know a friend or colleague are engaging in it as well.”

 “If you want to see the change then you have to be willing to be the change,” Adams said of self motivation.

Gwinyai Muzorewa, assistant professor of history who specializes in the study of African and African-American history, served as the panel moderator. His current projects include “The Contributions of Religious Thought to the Formation of African Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Nation Building” and “African Nationalism in the 21st Century: From Liberation to Governance in Southern Africa.”

Panelist Natalie Tindal, chair of the Department of Communication, represented the past. She specializes in diversity, identity and power in the public relations function; identity and health messages; fundraising and philanthropy; organizational culture and stereotypes within historically black fraternities and sororities; and the intersection of public relations and marketing to minority health.

Panel discussionPanelist Terry Mena, associate vice president for the Office of Student Engagement and dean of students, represented the present. He serves as co-chair for the Latino Knowledge Committee in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the Native American Chair for the American College Personnel Association. He has presented nationally on Latino community concerns, Native American historical and cultural connections and community building.

Student Government Association President Aaron Lavergne, represented the future. A senior mechanical engineering major and Mirabeau scholar, he coaches little league baseball and has been involved with organizations Greek Council, LU’s branch of the National Society of Black Engineers, Lamar Ambassadors, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., LU baseball, and the Reaud Honors College.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion works with students of all backgrounds to provide meaningful cross-cultural interaction, promote cultural awareness and develop students as active, productive and collaborative members of the community.