As a society, we cannot afford to grow fatigued by injustice.
In the face of adversity, discrimination and racism, we must unite and organize to advocate and spread awareness for those that are marginalized. Despite the multitude of issues across the country, there are a number of people fighting for progress and they remind each of us that we can all make an impact in our own unique way.
In our new video series, “Millennials Making an Impact”, we explore the motivations behind some of these real life people who empowered themselves to solve the issues they grew disheartened by.
This video features Omete Anassi, a senior at the University of Southern California.
A total of 44,000 students are enrolled in the University of Southern California, yet only 5.6% are African American. Of that small percentage, Black/African American men are vastly underrepresented. Seeing this huge disparity, Omete Anassi realized that Black men on campus needed to have a safe space to foster community, ensure their development and tackle issues of hypermasculinity from within.
During spring of 2016, Omete Anassi worked with two other friends to create Brothers Breaking B.R.E.A.D.– which is an acronym for Barriers, Regrets, Egos, Animosity and Doubt. Through this on-campus organization, they reached out to all of the black men on campus, regardless of major, age, background, or graduate/undergraduate status. Bringing everyone together, they founded a community by addressing the feelings of marginalization and discrimination and then building its members professionally, socially and emotionally. Taking a radical step in solving gender inequality and sexual violence, the group hosted events to discuss issues of hypermasculinity and absent fatherhood as well as held social gatherings to show appreciation towards women.
Since its first semester, the group has continued to grow and now has a membership of almost 200 members, although it is open to every Black/African-American man on campus. You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to show your support.
Despite recent criticism of safe spaces in the media, Brothers Breaking BREAD is an illustrative example of how important they are to marginalized communities on college campuses. According to the Safe Space Network, a safe space is considered to be “a place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability”. As a result, safe spaces allow students to explore the challenges faced within their community, provide a network of support which promotes healthy coping and minimizes feelings of isolation, create a platform for marginalized communities to voice the issues that matter to them, and most importantly– foster learning, understanding and compassion from those inside and outside of the community.
Safe spaces are not created to exclude anyone, they are created to exclude violent and oppressive language when tackling sensitive subjects. In these spaces, no one is required to agree, but everyone is required to show and maintain respect.
I encourage my readers to listen to Anassi’s interview here and subscribe to our Youtube channel to keep up with our new video series “Millennials Making an Impact”. There are so many amazing young people to highlight. If you know someone who deserves this spotlight for their efforts to make an impact in issues related to social justice, policy and politics, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. – Helen Keller