Nia Doaks | Staff Writer
On Tuesday, students discussed how Black men in our society constantly struggle with problems such as identity, masculinity, and aggression.
N.C. State’s Pack’s PACT program led a discussion about Black men in society following a showing of the film Fruitvale Station.
Pack’s PACT (Persisting Academically and Culturally Together) is a program that aims to form community ties, increase the graduation rates of African-American men at N.C. State, and discuss issues relevant to Black men and minorities in general.
Fruitvale Station tells the story of Oscar Grant, a young Black male who was the victim of unnecessary violence and police brutality. The movie depicts how Grant was pinned down, handcuffed, shot and killed by officers in a Oakland, California subway station.
Pack’s PACT led discussion covered various topics such as stereotypes, African-American culture and the justice system. The audience expressed its view on these issues and members of Pack’s PACT presented their opinions as well.
Pack’s PACT is led by Dr. Thomas Easley, director of Community for Diversity with the College of Natural Resources, and Edward Brown, director of Diversity Programs in the College of Textiles.
“Being in this group has allowed me to meet other individuals just like me on campus who go through similar situations,” said Darius Hargrove, a senior in parks recreation and tourism management, who has been a member of Pack’s PACT for almost two years.“It lets me know that I have what it takes to succeed. Having positive people to look up to lets me know that success is definitely an option.”
“Currently, we target sophomores and juniors for the program, but [we] make exceptions,” said Brown. They recruit participants to be a part of the group each year through an application process which can be found on their website.
“The application process was fairly simple,” Hargrove said. “We had to fill out an application that we were sent through e-mail. The year that I applied was the first year that they had the program.”
Pack’s PACT has a goal of doing at least two campus-wide programs a semester.
In September the program hosted “A Gathering Of Men,” which Brown said will become an annual event. The community of African-American male faculty, staff and students joined together for fellowship and words of wisdom.
During the spring semester, the group is planning a leadership seminar for high school students. Until then, members of the program will continue to meet bi-weekly and discuss topics such as black masculinity, image and identity, and academic success.
Fruitvale Station is the second campus-wide event for the fall semester, according to Brown.