Protest continues at Medgar Evers

Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 4:47 p.m.

"More significantly," Ellis continued, "the true value of the Center for NuLeadership, missing in President Pollard's initiative, is that we bring a unique, distinct and alternative perspective to the development of educational, program, policy and service initiatives, a perspective developed out of the incarceration experience, informed by our members successful transition from prison to community and guided by their acquisition of education at the post-graduate and doctoral levels. This alternative perspective challenges the traditional approaches, by proposing and teaching the development of a nu-justice paradigm. Traditional programs, such as the president proposes, continue to uphold and support a criminal punishment system that all experts agree, over the past 25 years, fostered outcomes that have had devastating consequences on the Black community in terms of mass incarceration, mass unemployment and mass disenfranchisement. To continue to support and encourage these policies and practices, as the president does, is antithetical to the best interests of the Black community and must be challenged and changed."

Nearly everyone entering the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on Monday accepted the flier handed out by members of the Medgar Evers Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity. "I looked it over and this is the first time I'm hearing about the situation, so I'll check it out and get back to you later," said one attendee, who refused to give his name.

That was the general response of most of those who received the flier, which listed six demands, including the immediate resignation of the provost and the restoration of the staff to support student services to ensure academic excellence.

The "silent" protest, with a number of supporters braving the bone-chilling weather, was the latest development in the ongoing struggle at Medgar Evers that has left several important programs in jeopardy or awaiting a court decision.

"Our objective was to proactively honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and the Civil Rights Movement in a way that King supporters could relate to," said Lumumba Bandele, one of the organizers of the Coalition and a former faculty member at Medgar Evers College. "We also came out to create more awareness about the injustices currently happening at Medgar Evers College. We feel that we have achieved that."