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

Students from across the country participated in the sixth annual Black Issues Forum June

18-20 at Colorado State University to facilitate student discussion of issues facing the African-American community.

Fifty-six high-school students from Colorado, California, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming attended the forum.

The students spent Friday researching topics in the library based on their role in the town meeting. Topics included attacks on race-based scholarships, economic empowerment, apologies and reparations for slavery, and the image of the African-American family in the media.

A series of town meeting forums were held on Saturday in which each student played an assigned role, ranging from a community member to a concerned parent.

The program is designed to expose high-school students to college and the Colorado State campus. "We wanted a program that allowed students to experience campus and discuss issues relevant to the African-American community," said Tracy Raiford, coordinator of the forum and assistant director of admissions at the university.

Encouraging students to attend college is a major goal of the program, Raiford said.

"If they choose Colorado State, we would love to have them," she said. "Colorado State is the best kept secret in the state. Students can receive a quality education here."

Out-of-state participants in the Black Issues Forum included the following.

CALIFORNIA-Aqueelah McKinley, senior at Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, is involved in Senior Council, with Mixxed Image Dance Co. and is a Link Crew Leader.

ILLINOIS-Olivia Lawrence, senior at Carmel High School in Mundelein.

IOWA-Monica Reeler, from Waterloo, is a senior at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colo.

MICHIGAN-Syreeta Jemison, senior at Dominican High School and Academy in Detroit, is the Senior Class President, a Student Congress Representative, a Peer Motivator, a member of the 1997 All-Catholic Scholastic Team and a member of National Honor Society. She also has received several awards including the United States Achievement Academy Awards for Mathematics and Minority Leadership and the Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

MISSISSIPPI-James Parks, from Greenville, is a senior at Sierra High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he serves as a class representative.

MISSOURI-Tamiesha Gill, senior at Lincoln College Preparatory High School in Kansas City; Tamara Matfield, senior at Hickman Mills High School in Kansas City, is a member of her high school basketball and softball teams, National Honor Society, the Youth Choir of Metropolitan and track manager.

NEW JERSEY-Robert McDuffie, senior at Clifford J. Scott High School in East Orange, is involved in the YMCA Minority Achievers Program and Boy Scout Troop 1. He also is on the football and track teams.

OKLAHOMA-Ayanna Bell, senior at Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City, is a member of the National Honor Society, the All-City Band, Classen Thespian, N.W. Honor Band, the State Drama All Star-Cast and Regional Drama All-Star Cast.

TEXAS-Steve Austin, senior at Parkland High School in El Paso, is on the basketball and track teams; Ralph Derouselle, senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Houston, is involved in the Concert Choir, Math Club, Spanish Club, Good Gang U.S.A., Top Teens of America and the Thurgood Marshall Achievers Society; Jonathan Morrison, senior at Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, has received the Distinguished Gentlemen of Dunbar High Award; Aliya Nash, from Katy, a senior at Langham Creek High School in Houston, is a member of Student Council, the track team and the U.N.I.T.Y. Club; Alex Ross, high school senior from El Paso, is on the football, soccer and track teams at his high school.

WYOMING-Rachel Ratliff, senior at Riverton High School in Riverton, is the captain of the Drill team, Pep Band and Cheerleading, and in the 1998 Wyoming High School All State Marching Band.

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