Connecting with Black students at NKU

Bryan McKinney with daughter Elizabeth.

Bryan McKinney with daughter Elizabeth.

A group of Black women approached CBR volunteer Bryan McKinney at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).  Bryan had joined us for the entire Kentucky GAP tour, along with his wife Christy and his 2-year-old daughter Elizabeth.  What an awesome family!

Shirby Ferguson, President of the Black United Students (BUS), told Bryan that BUS officers and members had e-mailed and texted her about the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display.  They were upset about the use of lynching photos in our display.  Shirby said none of them had the courage to come out and speak with us, so she was there representing all of them.

Before long, Shirby and Bryan were engrossed in dialogue that lasted well over half an hour.  Bryan explained that CBR’s entire operating philosophy comes from the King family.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) said that America would never reject racism until America saw racism.  Dr. King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, now says that, in the same way, America will never reject abortion until America sees abortion.

MLK compared racial injustice to the Holocaust on many levels, particularly with respect the dehumanization of their intended victims.  Additionally, MLK knew people needed to see pictures of racial injustice to understand the plight of the Black man, just like they needed to see pictures of the death camps to understand the horror of the Holocaust.

Once Bryan explained that MLK and other social reformers in US history had used images to help change hearts and minds, Shirby immediately changed her mind about our display.  She had been pro-life already, but she had not understood why our display used the comparisons that we did.  She stayed for over an hour to speak with other volunteers and staff members, accompanied by BUS members.

Bryan also mentioned that, as a white man, images of racial injustice were the closest he could ever come to understanding her personal connection with the injustice of racism.  On the other hand, images of Holocaust victims were the closest she could ever come to understanding his personal connection with the Holocaust, a time during which several of Bryans relatives were killed.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply