THE WORD | Noname’s book club

Rapper Noname has started her own book club! The Chicago native, known for her sophisticated lyrics, knowledge of black culture, and overall intelligence and style has formed an overnight club that viewers are eagerly joining. The club started as a subtle idea on Twitter, after she posted book recommendations online and simply asked, “retweet if you’d be a member of Noname’s book club?”

After posting the tweet last week it’s since received over 10,000 likes and retweets. Since then Noname has taken quick initiative to kickstart the club, create a site, and give the list of reading material for the month of August. The book club is something close to her heart, as she posted that her mother was the first black woman to own a bookstore in Chicago. She went on to state “noname books will honor that legacy.”

The rapper is still forming the club and elevating it so that individuals can meet in person to talk about the books, but for now pick your selection and get to reading! Chicago what do you think? Will you join? 


THE WORD | PBS Arthur’s MR.Ratburn Gay Marriage Reactions

Monday, May 13 the animated children’s series Arthur entered its 22nd season on PBS Kids. The new season kicked off with a bang! In the episode titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” we learn that Arthur’s teacher — the popular and well educated Mr. Ratburn — is gay.

Throughout the episode Arthur, Buster and their friends attempt to break up his engagement after seeing Mr. Ratburn with a rather “pushy” woman who throughout the episode tells him to “toughen up”. Convinced, that marrying her would make both his life and theirs miserable the kids decide to take action without knowing the woman in question is his sister and not the bride to be. Upon the wedding, the kids are shocked to see him walk the aisle with someone else, yet relieved by how happy the couple appears. The kids decide to abort their plans to soil the wedding, and focus their attention on a bigger problem amongst the couple... the way they dance.

While this episode has been well received by the public, many are simply shocked that the series reached 22 seasons, it does leave some asking is the media pushing the LGBTQ agenda onto kids at too young of an age? Several shows on children’s networks like Disney and Nickelodeon have transitioned into the practice of creating and displaying characters who relate to and are members of the LGBTQ community. While many agree that education on the topic is important and the community presence and identity is needed, the culture asks, is it becoming too much for the children?


Instagram To Launch Live Streaming in The U.S.


back in November Instagram announced its Live video broadcastinng which allow users to show your followers what you’re up to in real-time, and also let users browse for Live videos happening at this very moment as selected by Instagram algorithmically. 

The Live features live in Instagram Stories, and you can get to them by swiping into the Stories camera area and then tapping the toggle to enter “Live” mode. Live videos aren’t stored on your Instagram, in Stories or otherwise, meaning your followers can only see them while you’re actually broadcasting.

That’s the key difference between Instagram’s live video and that offered by Facebook. Is that it will disappear in like Facebook.


Instagram also has a new way to find live streams to watch – under the Explore tab there’s a new “Top Live”

check your Instagram app for updates with in the next few days  to go live or catch some broadcasts.



Finals: How Millennials Are Wrapping Up 2016

Here we are ladies and gentlemen. The time of the year where the entire world begins to recap what they’ve liked, loved, and lost over the past year. During 2016, the millennial generation was evidently busy. By setting various trends, they have made significant advancements in their contributions towards building a new economy. With 2016 being filled with surprises, one can only wait to see what 2017 will hold. However, the millennial generation has advanced this past year in their contributes towards building a new millennial economy through some of these setting trends.

The Facts

  1. Millennials are more connected to their financial future than previous generations.     

Millennials are a dynamic and talented generation that are to hard find and even harder for older, bigger branded larger corporations to keep as employees because of lack of talent and employee management. With a rising sense of self, ambition, and self-worth, this generation has increased the number of start-up business. In return, these emerging businesses are generating more income for a newer  economy. Fred Truffile, Director of Bentley's Entrepreneur study states, “Millennials are more eager to make their own pathways because traditional ones may lead nowhere.”

According to a recent analysis from Deloitte University Press, “Millennials have recently inched past the other generations to corner the largest share of the US labor market.”  The millennial generation is truly the entrepreneurial generation due to the influence of technology. With millennials being digital natives, we have the upper hand in a tech-centered world. According to a the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report , Millennials have an higher average of starting 5.7 companies in the lifetime over previous generations.  The millennial generation is clearly the  entrepreneurial generation due to the influence of technology

Also, our millennial generation is  more invested in human capital, such as the value of an educational degree. Whereas real-world business and entrepreneurship experiences go hand - in- hand with a degree.

2. Millennials are more consciously influenced by social setting.

    Social networking is very important to our millennials. The influence of social media gives this generation a voice, increasing the concern for shifts seen in society and how their own personal power can add to that influence. According to the American Press Institute, 88% of millennials alone receive news from facebook. College campuses are now being seen as a pool for millennials to expand networks and test future business concepts. As millennials, we have a tendency to evaluate our society, as well as our environment. We adapt what we understand into our experiences, making this generation less fearful of failures. Through the use of social media, millennials are given an adaptable platform of engagement between different communities exposing the generation to different sets of perspectives and cultures.

3. Wellness has become a daily pursuit of millennials.

Wellness has become a daily active pursuit for this generation. This has been seen through more investments in exercise, healthier diets, and smarter lifestyle choices than previous generations. According to a data analysis by the Guardian, 83% of 12th graders disapprove of people 18 or older smoking 1 or more packs of cigarettes a week. College and university campuses have been finding ways to accommodate to the millennial age of students. For example,  the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign campus has declared itself to be smoke free for the past 3 years.

These are just a few characteristics that are shaping the new millennial economy. With 2017 soon arriving, you can find many from this generation using this time to prepare for the new opportunities that await. Fearlessness and prosperity may be the eye of Millennials as this exciting year comes to a close.

Common Says Being Vegan Helped His Career

Common is giving credit to changes in his diet by that helped improve his rap skills. In a recent interview with Food & Wine, The Chicago Rapper spoke about healthy eating and how is working to help children make healthier food choices. 

“I believe that what you eat affects the way you feel, the way you think and how beautiful you can look, so I’m really passionate about introducing kids to a holistic, healthy, good life,” he said.

According to Common, he ate everything from barbecue to burgers, but when he started listened to how other rappers removed meat from their diets, he did the same.

“Then I heard rappers, like KRS-One in ‘My Philosophy,’ say things about not eating meat, which was a real education, especially since it was coming from somebody cool. That stayed with me and made me want to learn more,” Common said. “As soon as I removed meat from my diet, I started to feel a clarity I didn’t have before. It sounds funny, but I feel like I was rapping better.”

But as with anyone, he has his cravings. “I’m a cookie monster. I like the gluten-free, sugar-free ones from Erin McKenna’s in NYC,” he said. “I’ll come home after working hard, and they’re my treat—I’ve earned them.”

He’s still living a healthy lifestyle, and with his Common Ground Foundation, he’s also teaching children about healthy eating.

Lupe Fiasco is fighting for social injustices in Chicago deprived areas

Photo Cred: Ben Bitton

Photo Cred: Ben Bitton

Saturday marked the first annual celebrity bowling tournament that brought out celebrities to raise awareness the limited access to healthy and nutritious foods, music and art instruction as well as various community based programs that fill the void that many low income residents in Chicago have been deprived of.

The M.U.R.A.L (Magnifying Urban Realities & Affecting Lives) project is a grassroots organization that was founded in 2009, by Lupe Fiasco and his sister Ayesha Jaco who saw firsthand how families living in areas of Chicago that were deprived of necessities that wealthier communities had access to. What started as an annual coat and food drive aimed at areas such as West Garfield and Englewood grew into music education, cultural exchange programs and food drives.


The united states has faced massive budget cutsfor art and music instruction in public school settings and Ayesha Jaco, executive director and Lupe’s sister says her brother realized the need to offer inner city youth of chicago the resources they need in order to be successful, “quote from video”

Since 2010, the organization has provided over 4000 inner-city residents access to healthy foods with pop-up community meals and various other free community based cooking classes to teach residents healthier ways to prepare meals.

Celebrities such as Marina Squarecheck star of Chicago PD was in attendance and said she supports the cause because it is a definite need for kids to have access to resources that will help them reach their potential

Our @andrereports hanging out with @marinasqu AKA Kim burgess from #ChicagoPD at #lupefiasco charity fundraiser

A photo posted by Whats The Word Media, Inc. (@whatsthewordtv) on


In addition, the organization has also gone on to implement a cultural exchange program in which high school students will study abroad to gain an understanding of other cultures to engage in dialogue differences with youth from around the world.  Music and Art is personal to Lupe seeing as though many Public Schools do not offer programs tailored to offering students with the opportunity to realize their potential which is why the Foundation created a teacher certified program to incorporate elements of music into education standards.

To find more about the organization and how you can get involved visit

Mississippi Church Burned and Tagged with "Vote Trump"

“Vote Trump” is painted on the side of the fire-damaged Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Miss. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

“Vote Trump” is painted on the side of the fire-damaged Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Miss. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

The residents of an 111 year old An African-American church in Greenville, Mississippi, woke up this morning in shock to find it was burned and vandalized late Tuesday evening.

According to reports officials responded to a fire ablaze at the Hopewell Baptist Church around 9:15pm and when officials arrived they determined it was an act of hate.

At a press conference this morning, Greenville Fire Chief Ruben Brown says officials arrived on scene to find no one in the church at the time and that the main sanctuary was was were majority of the damage occurred. He also stated the words “Vote Trump” were spray painted on the right side of the church.  

The FBI was called in also to investigate the incident according to crime and breaking news reporter Therese Apel:

Officials stated in a press conference this morning that the matter is being investigated as a hate crime.

The pastor of the church stated, “Our church was a historic church. It had been there for over 111 years and our hearts are broken. But we are not angry, but hearts are broken.”

R.I.P. Vine

Photo Illustration by The New York Post

Photo Illustration by The New York Post

According to BBC News, Twitter has announced that it will be shutting down Vine after only four years of duration. Vine is a social media app that allows six second videos played on a loop. Although it is not exactly sure why Twitter will be ending Vine's services, there was reported a 9% employment drop in the company due to decreasing usage of the video app this year. This could be due to social mediums like Snap Chat and Instagram adding video usage to their already growing market of social network. Twitter will be closing Vine altogether within the upcoming months giving Vine users the opportunity to download and save their already established vine videos. 

Representatives of the video app released a statement saying, "We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website." So vine users will be able to view vines created from years ago but will not be authorized to upload any new vine videos once Twitter closes the app. 

Vine was one of the first and forever popular video media apps to be discovered. The question at hand is: Will Twitter combine Vine's features with it's own to improve the Twitter app? Given other social platforms, the idea doesn't sound bad and could potentially grow the usage of twitter as a whole. Although Vine could not uphold to the liking of Snapchat and the new video features on instagram, Vine has produced a number of elite vine users known as "Vine fmaous" celebrities such as DC Young Fly from Wild N'Out, and King Bach.

Google acquires FameBit to connect YouTube creators with Brands

Google just announced that it has acquired FameBit, a marketplace that connects video creators with marketers who want to sponsor their content. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  CEO David Kierzkowski and his co-founder Agnes Kozera said the platform has been used to 25,000 branded videos, and that FameBit will run as “a standalone operation” for now. 

This could be an important step for Google’s YouTube, where monetization has been a recent concern. YouTube has been working to provide more support on this front through its partner program, but we’ve also seen the growth of multi-channel networks that creators join up with for ad sales and business resources.

FameBit was backed by Los Angeles startup studio Science, Inc. In a article published by Tech Crunch Kierzkowskiexplainedhow the marketplace is focused on “long- and mid-tail creators,” not just the big YouTube stars who get most of the attention from MCNs. 

Turn Up The Heat: Sean Combs Talks Education and Presidential Politics

Turn Up The Heat: Sean Combs Talks Education and Presidential Politics

Rapper turned Mogul, Sean “Diddy” Combs, gave his thoughts on revolutionizing not only the education system; but also the presidential election. In an interview Combs did with Al Sharpton, on the MSNBC network, he spoke on how the education system in communities, like Harlem and the Bronx, are behind; leaving thoughts on the future of not only his children, but the future of our kids. In response to this system, Combs has supplied his own education initiative.

“Instead of me talking about it, I went ahead and worked with the system to make it better”, says Combs.

Sean Combs also announced that he, along with Dr. Steven Perry, has opened Capital Prep Harlem Carter School located in Harlem, New York. It is a free public charter school that is for grades 6-12. According to the charter school, its initiative is to provide historically disadvantaged students from Harlem with the College readiness skills needed to become responsible and engaged citizens for social justice.  

Photo By: MSNBC

Photo By: MSNBC


In response to politics, Combs has a message to the 2016 Presidential candidates, to appeal to the young people of America, more specifically; the issues that circulate within the black communities of America.

“In a way I feel shortchanged, not knocking the president because I know there is a lot of juggling going around,“ says Diddy.

Relating to Obama’s terms as President, Sean Combs felt, “more could have been done for the black communities and feels that now is the time to Turn Up The Heat”.

Combs also address Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton to talk about black issues.

“The black vote is going to decide the next POTUS”, says Combs.

According to the mogul, the new strategies for the black voters of America should be to hold your vote. Let the candidates earn your vote instead.

Diddy also discussed how his current album will be the last album of his rap career. He wants to celebrate this victory with his Bad Boy family.


Musician, performer and businessman Sean "Diddy" Combs is adding another title -- educator. Combs speaks to Rev. Al Sharpton about his new charter school in Harlem, and his thoughts on what the next president needs to focus on. " Subscribe to MSNBC: About: MSNBC is the premier destination for in-depth analysis of daily headlines, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives.


A look at Dwyane Wade's New Gold Coast Mansion

The Robbins, IL native, Dawayne Wade signed a two-year, $47.5 million contract with the Bulls last month after spending 13 seasons with the Miami Heat.

The new Bulls star and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, just leased this Gold Coast mansion, according to Crain's

The eight-bedroom Victorian on North State Parkway was built in 1883 but updated five years ago. It includes a finished basement with a 148-inch projection screen and 720-bottle wine fridge, as well as an attached three-car garage and a coach house in addition to the main house.

The 10,250-square-foot property, which was also featured on the 1980s sitcom "Webster," was listed for nearly $9.5 million in April but taken off the market Monday after Wade signed his lease, according to the report.

Wade had a mansion in the south suburbs, but his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, recently sold it for $300,000

The terms of Wade's lease are unknown. By the looks of the photos, the house isn't cheap.


Lupe Fiasco, Google exec team to fund startups in Chicago

Story from Cheryl V. Jackson a freelance writer; published by the Chicago Tribune

Entrepreneurs in two Chicago neighborhoods will get a shot at funding from a new organization founded by Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco and Google executive Di-Ann Eisnor.

Through their Neighborhood Start Fund, they're scouring communities overlooked by Silicon Valley investors to find ideas that could generate $100 million in revenue — and also as a way to encourage diversity among entrepreneurs and spur neighborhood development.

 "From an innovation standpoint, we're missing out on great ideas and opportunities for problems to be solved," Eisnor said.

Englewood and Lawndale were part of the June expansion of the Neighborhood Start Fund, which identifies startups for investment in specific neighborhoods, and then reinvests profits into funds to fuel more startups from those communities.

Eisnor, head of growth for Google's Waze traffic and navigation app, and Chicago-native Fiasco will be presenting along with venture capitalists and startup professionals at an hour-long workshop on ideas and pitching Saturday, Aug. 13, at Englewood Accelerator (formerly EnglewoodBlue), 815 W. 63rd St., at 10 a.m. and in Lawndale at Firehouse Community Arts Center, 2111 S. Hamlin Ave., at 2 p.m.

Participants, through Sept. 2, can submit entries online to move to a pitch competition where $5,000 in funding is on the table to build a prototype. From there, the Neighborhood Start Fund could offer investments from $25,000 to $100,000.

The program also provides access to networks workshops and mentoring.

Ideas can range from the next indispensable gadget to a slamming mac-and-cheese recipe — as long as it has the potential to generate cash, organizers said.

 "We're looking for very big good ideas. We want companies that can generate at least $100 million," Eisnor said, "We want to create a real change, and to do that, we need some super-successful companies."

She and Fiasco (whose real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) met in 2014 as the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown fellows, young entrepreneurs charged with creating initiatives to better conditions in communities. They bonded over conversations about marginalized communities and opportunities in innovation.

They thought many good ideas were available but didn't get the chance for development, and partnered on the $1 million fund.

The fund began with the Brownsville neighborhood in New York in October before expanding to Chicago. They're also in New York's Jamaica neighborhood, Miami's Overtown/Wymwood/Allapattah community, South Central Los Angeles, Roxbury in Boston and Anacostia in Washington, D.C.

Half of the money in the fund makes from a successful venture goes back to the neighborhood-specific fund from which the startup sprang, they say.

The New York pitch competition of 10 finalists yielded three startups that got $5,000 funding. Two of those — a digital on-demand mental health services and resources connector and a marketplace for discovering and booking unsigned artists — each got an additional $25,000 investment and will accompany Eisnor on a trip to Silicon Valley to pitch to other investors.


Illinois Governor signed stopgap budget to ensure schools open in the fall and fund state services for six months

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a series of stopgap budget bills to ensure schools open in the fall and fund state services for the next six months.

Two CPS-related bills were also signed into law: a $215 million pension pickup for the Chicago teachers' pension fund, and a bill that allows Chicago to raise property taxes earmarked for teacher pension.

 "In fact the money will go directly to the pension fund. It will not stop on its way to the Chicago Board of Education," said House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.

Addressing the media for the first time Thursday, Rauner called the stopgap a "grand bargain, grand compromise" that is "just a small step in the process of making Illinois strong and healthy and vibrant. This is a small step in the right direction." He praised Republicans and Democrats alike for working together to negotiate the deal, extending special thanks to Senate President John Cullerton and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for their "flexibility and creativity" during the negotiating process.

The governor said the turning point in negotiations was when Democrats made it clear that while they may be willing to negotiate on reforms for the state, they would not hold a vote until after the November election. The governor said they indicated that they would consider voting on those reforms after the election.

 "This is not a budget, this is not a balanced budget, this is not a solution for our long-term challenges," Rauner said. "This is a bridge to reform. A bipartisan bridge to reform."

House Speaker Mike Madigan noted Rauner set aside his agenda for changes to the business climate that Democrats oppose but acknowledged Democrats didn't get everything they wanted either.


"This measure is a compromise. Republicans did not get everything that they wanted, Democrats did not get everything that they wanted. While important progress was made today, I want to reiterate that our work is not done," Madigan said on the chamber's floor after the budget was passed.

Senate President John Cullerton - a Chicago Democrat - says it's an indication of what can be done when all sides work together. Other representatives on both sides of the aisle agreed.

 "There's a better way of going about this process," said State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Westchester). "The finger pointing needs to start coming to a close."

 "I think we have a very reasonable approach to many of the problems that have been grappling with all session long and I think this is a good start," said Flynn Currie.

Besides education, the stopgap budget also provides funding for road construction projects, higher education and human services. And there's even more good news for Chicago residents - money for CTA projects is also included in the deal.

 "It will allow money that is in this appropriation bill to be used for past due bills for all of the senior agencies, autism funding, immigrant/refugee, after school programs that have not been paid this year," said State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).

While the budget was a bipartisan effort, not all lawmakers voted for it and some are furious the temporary spending plan just kicks the can down the road.

 "We will continue to spend $33 million a day more than we bring in. It's just math. Understand that we will continue to deficit spend," said State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock).

The deal follows an 18-month stalemate between Gov. Rauner and Democratic leaders.


Story from ABC 7 Chicago

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Young Attorney Launches Foundation To Expose Law To Underserved Children

A 28-year-old CEO of his own law firm is starting a foundation to help local youths learn the law.

Jamal E. Jackson, the head of Jackson Corporate Law Offices at 111 W. Jackson Blvd., celebrated his fourth year in Chicago last month. The Bronzeville resident's firm will hit its three-year anniversary in August, when Jackson will also launch his foundation, the Excel Project.

Photo from Khali Smith

Photo from Khali Smith

Through the foundation, children and teens from underserved communities will get introduced to the legal field. They’ll be placed in summer internships with law firms and legal departments in Chicago. Jackson said he’s also trying to work with some local law schools to have students attend classes.

“I just want to give them hope,” he said. “I don’t want there to be kids who don’t meet a black attorney until the age of 20. I want them to be exposed to it at a very young age. I want them to feel like it’s commonplace to have black attorneys around. We want to help build dreams. We want to help create a pipeline of diverse attorneys that will be able to go out and help their communities.”

Jackson didn’t meet his first attorney until college.

Full Story from Andrea V. Watson of

Chicago's Pastor John Hannah calls for a 2 mile Prayer on 79th street

On May 21, 2016, New Life Covenant Church Southeast and a host of community and faith-based organizations are teaming up for the sixth annual “Prayer on the 9” community initiative.

They are forming a two-mile prayer line along 79th Street from Greenwood to the Dan Ryan, on both sides of the street, to demonstrate a unified stance against violence and to pray for the communities most affected by it.

Participants are asked to wear the color red to symbolize the blood that has been shed in our neighborhoods and to bring a photo of a loved one lost to violence.

And together, in a moment of silence, everyone will step into the street with there photos raised and lie down on the pavement to illustrate the bodies and lives we’ve lost in Chicago.


Chicago Twins get accepted into top Colleges

Kymon and Kemonte Harrington are seniors at Hansberry College Prep. Both have been accepted into some of the nations top colleges and universities.

Kemonte is attending the University of Pennsylvania on a full ride. While Kymon turned down a full ride to the University of Chicago to attend Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia.

These set of twins from Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood are both attending top tier colleges in the fall. Representing the city of Chicago promising youth.

The twins said their hard work has paid off.A huge part of the twin's success is their mother. She quit her job eight years ago to solely focus on their education.


Chicago-area student with 4.79 GPA accepted into 3 dozen schools

 Christian Davis is preparing to finish his last 2 months of high school and more than three dozen schools are clamoring to get this guitar playing hospital volunteer, who’s a member of National Honor Society, onto their campus.

He has a 4.79 GPA on a four-point scale? And he got a 34 on the ACT.

He has offers from four Ivy League schools, 20 of the top 50 ranked universities and about $5 million in earned merit scholarships are at his fingertips.

2 shootings and Racial Slurs at SIU | By: Ryan Vickers

SIUCs campus has been all but pleasant amongst students in light of the recent events that have taken place in Carbondale, IL. In the last month, there has been 2 shootings and racial allegations from a predominantly white fraternity on SIUC's campus. Even the outskirts of the SIU Campus into the actual Carbondale community, where Carbondale natives reside, aren't quite as welcome as times before. To say the least, the relationship between SIU Administration and Students, as well as, the city of City of Carbondale is currently in a race to the bottom. But, how does that connect the Trump supporters to the allegations of racial slurs? And what does that have to do with Black Greeks and their lack, thereof, of access on campus?

Photo Credit:; Center Right: Leilani Bartlett 

Photo Credit:; Center Right: Leilani Bartlett 

Well that’s a good question, because the answer to that speaks to a bigger issue. In a private survey conducted by several students on campus a typical SIU student has to at least travel 4 – 6 times a semester just to attend fun social events because SIU does not offer any large scale events that they would likely attend. Moreover 2 in 5 SIU students (who would likely attend these large scale events) say that they have considered transferring at some point in time, because of stipulations that exist on social events that are often foreign to other campuses that are similar in size to SIU. So for some time now the administration has not be willing to create events that foster more students in socially nor have they made serious efforts on reforms to initiate such events. In fact SIU has done the complete opposite by creating policies that just so happen to oppose even RSOs in particular BGLOs from being able to do so even if it’s at their own expense. Namely “The 850 Rule” where you are not allowed to have more than 850 students at an on campus social party in the Student Center, for example, even with EXTRA officers from DPS. Or what about how the new policies that have emerged over the last few years that is designed to prohibit and limit the amount of non-SIU students that attend SIU events?  Interesting? 

Photo Credit: the; SIU campus and students 

Photo Credit: the; SIU campus and students 

Now why does this all matter as far as the allegations of racial slurs openly being promoted in the manner which they were, because lets be for real who cares if a group of ATOS want to support Donald Trump. Well I’ll be frank, getting called racial slurs by a group of white fraternity members and not having anything TRULY done about it. Chances the culture of that happening here at SIU, in the year 2016, doesn’t really help who students are jaded by the efforts to bridge the gap on actually putting a halt to occurrences like this on campus, once again this relationship between Students and Admin has been not so easy going for some time now. It sends the message that you won’t equip Black Greeks (which are the orgs that historically throw these events) with policies that allow a better college experience. But more importantly you will also not reattribute the horrible experience a student had when they encountered the ATOs in an on campus dormitory. To say the least, the gap on being out of touch with the students is very wide. 

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

One could suggest that the escalation of non-campus violence occurring (such as the recent shootings) stems directly from the limited social events that inadvertently push all of SIU students and all of Carbondale citizens who attend those events (as well and just as actively) into the limited bars, pubs, or just regular house socials that Carbondale and SIU Has to offer, and unfortunately in 2016 that’s where we are. A campus divided and displeased by the blatant “redlining” and “gerrymandering” like policies being levied against events SIU students want. And on the brink of demanding true policy reform on events that they manage, they promote and they fund as long as these events promote safety and meet the social needs of a modern college student.

Southern Illinois University Student deals with Racist Trump Supporters

Leilani Bartlett, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale business student recently released a heart filled video expressing her concerns after racist encounters from white Donald Trump supporters. In this video she explains her observations of racist street writings and remarks on several buildings and walkways on SIU’s campus.

In addition to the campus vandalism, she sated that those same white students hosted discussions expressing their concerns and beliefs about the African American students on campus. These discussions allowed white students to blame the African American students for society problems and express hopeful wishes of African Americans returning back to Africa. 

Racism at SIUC. I'm at my residence hall and all I hear is TRUMP 2016. The same group of kids in a fraternity ( ATO)...

Posted by Leilani Bartlett on Monday, April 4, 2016

As the video goes on, Leilani expresses her beliefs and agrees with the amendment of people having the right to express their opinions, but without hurting and demeaning others. 

Bartlett identified the supporters as a couple members from Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, levied racial epithets, and hurtful language during two open Trump forum meetings in her dormitory.

"So you are in these letters that represent your fraternity, and you are saying these racial slurs, and have admitted to doing racially insensitive things on campus? It's only up for me to assume that your whole fraternity supports this," Bartlett explained.   

However, concerning the accusations, Wynn Smiley, CEO of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, shared that allegations were only brought up in connection to a couple members of the group, and not the chapter as a whole.

"It has nothing to do with the chapter," he shared. "It's about individual students within the chapter."

He further deemed the conversation between the students as a political debate, not a discussion about race.

"We do not believe the ATOs involved used any racial slurs. Such language and conduct is counter to what ATO stands for," he said. "Our investigation continues and both chapter and national fraternity officials are working with SIU officials in helping resolve the tensions Wednesday's discussion produced."

Brad Colwell, interim SIU Carbondale chancellor, released a statement addressing the need for the university to have a critically important discussion about race.

"This is a conversation that is happening on campuses across the country, because the issues we face are not isolated to SIU," he said. "We must all be concerned when we have members of our campus community who indicate that they do not feel welcome."

He also added this statement to clarify the university's intentions to continue their investigations with consideration toward the privacy of those involved.

"You should not assume that silence is inaction, but that we are moving as quickly as possible based on the verifiable information we are able to gather, assess and respond to appropriately," he said. "We must be measured, and we must be fair."

As an African America male, I feel the pain of this young student. Also, as an alumnus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, I have also experienced some racism from the local white community. In 2011, I was a sophomore in college when a police officer pulled me over and claimed it was against the law to have air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirror. He didn’t give me a ticket but he referred to me as“Boy” throughout the process. “Boy” is a term that white men used to belittle African Americans. 

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and according to our constitution we all have the freedom of speech. Demeaning someone’s culture and appearance just because they are different is unacceptable. “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you”- this statement is in accurate because there are words such as “Nigger”,  “Hoe” “Fag” that plays a huge role in the self-esteem of people.  Words are more powerful than we think.


Sources: The Southern Illinoisan ,