Shaun King Delivers Hard Truths and a Call to Action

By Devon Martinez, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 20th, PPCC hosted activist and journalist Shaun King at the Centennial Campus for Black History Month.

King primarily focuses his writing and activism on police brutality and mass incarceration of people of color, but his speech covered a wide range of topics from the Donald Trump presidency, strategies on developing movements that create actual change, economic issues, healthcare, and the presidential landscape in 2020.

Most of the students at the event didn’t know who King was prior to his talk, but wanted to hear his viewpoint on race relations in America. The students who did know who he was were interested in hearing him live for the first time.

Student Ivy Phinn said she went to the event because she was a fan of King’s. “I’ve been following him since I was twelve, and I’m seventeen now. So, it’s kind of cool to see the person who helped me understand more about being Black, and about social justice.”

Student Nicholas Alderman is a conservative who said he went to the event to listen to something different. “I really expect that there are going to be a lot of views that conflict with conservative values, and I would just like to see if I can find some common ground,” he said.

The first fifteen minutes of King’s speech focused on current events and his opinions of the Trump Presidency. This includes the number of times the President has lied since being president.

History, he thinks, will be the tell for Donald Trump. King said, “When something deeply historic happens it doesn’t feel like it feels in the history books, because it’s just surrounded by everyday life. So, history is best understood when you can look back on it five years, ten years, fifteen years later.”

King’s upcoming book will focus on how change occurs.

According to King, there is a roadmap that successful movements use to force positive change, because change is not easy.

“When I say make change, I literally mean it could be on this campus. It could be in Colorado Springs, it could be in this county, in Denver, it could be statewide change. It could be a national change,” King continued. “Every time we increase the scale of those changes it will make the work more and more difficult.”

King said that in order to produce change, movements need four things: energetic people, organized people, a sophisticated plan, and resources. King emphasized that people normally think that a movement is going to be successful based on its number of energetic people, but that means nothing if the people aren’t doing the work.

He also wanted us to understand that a sophisticated plan is the size of a small book. According to him most activist groups don’t have well-constructed plans.

Resources are the last thing you need according to King because the first three things are available to everyone.

“Everyone in the room can get at least three of those things going right now, and if you get three of these four things you will change. But if you get all four of them down moving in the same direction at the same time, that’s where change happens,” King said.

King then went into a speed round of answering questions that varied from topics on where race relations are heading today and the 2020 Democratic candidates to how having a diverse group of teachers benefits all students.

If you’re interested in reading more about King’s activism and journalism, follow him on Twitter @shaunking or visit his website  https://www.shaunking.org/.

PC: Sondra Glovan

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