Students Address Issues Facing the African-American Community During Colorado State University’s Sixth Annual Black Issues Forum

More than 60 high-school students from across the United States will gather at Colorado State University June 18-20 to discuss issues facing the African-American community.

The sixth annual Black Issues Forum will unite students from Colorado, Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. Topics will include recent legal attacks on race-based scholarships, economic empowerment, a proposed national apology and reparations for slavery and the image of the African-American family in the media. The Black Issues Forum planning committee selected the topics based on students’ answers to application questions.

The participants will research the topics June 19 in preparation for a town meeting forum 10:30 a.m. June 20 in the Lory Student Center Theater. Each student will play an assigned role in the forum ranging from a community member to a concerned parent. The student’s role may or may not coincide with their beliefs.

The program is open to the public all three days with a special focus on the town meeting.

The keynote speaker, Melanie Harris, will speak at 5:30 p.m. June 20 in the Lory Student Center Ballroom. Harris was selected because of her ability to talk to the participants rather than at them, said Tracy Raiford, coordinator of the forum and assistant director of admissions at the university. Harris attended the first Black Issues Forum in 1993.

"We wanted a program that allowed students to experience campus and discuss issues relevant to the African-American community," Raiford said. "If they choose Colorado State, we would love to have them. Colorado State is the best kept secret in the state and students can receive a quality education here."

Students who attend the Black Issues Forum and are accepted to Colorado State receive the Diversity Partnership Award, which offers in-state students $10,000 and out-of-state students $20,000 total, distributed over four years.

This year, 35 students met the qualifications and were offered the award.

For more information on the Black Issues Forum, call Raiford at (303) 573-6315.