Iota Phi Theta’s Black Out Event

Many students use the hashtag to promote the movement Black Lives Matter. Photo by Hannah O’Brien/Spectrum.

By Hannah O’Brien

Staff Reporter

Sacred Heart University’s fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, hosted a campus wide Black Out event on Oct. 12 to raise awareness on the social movement, Black Lives Matter.

The social media campaign hosted by Iota asked anyone who wanted to participate to wear all black for the day. The fraternity also suggested that participants post a picture of them wearing an all black outfit on their social media outlets with the hash tag: #IWearAllBlackBecause______and tagging Iota’s account: @shu_iotas.

“The Black Out event was just the first portion of how we intend to raise awareness on campus, especially pertaining to the social issues against African American men,” said senior Christian Carter, president of Iota Phi Theta. “This event was special because as it occurred, we were able to realize the impact we’ve caused on campus. It was completely amazing to see the amount of support from many students, athletes and clubs.”

The event brought light to a rising issue in the United States, while helping people share their own stories.

“The ‘Black Out’ event resonated deeply with myself because one of my fraternity brothers, Terrence Crutcher, in Tulsa, Oklahoma fell victim to this police brutality,” said Carter.

Crutcher is just one example of a young African American being fatally shot by the police. It seems, though, that the injustice does not end there due to some statistics released by the Washington Post.

According to Washington Post, a study was done analyzing 385 fatal police shootings in 2015. The results showed that it is three times more likely for an African American to be fatally shot rather than Caucasians or any other minority group.

“We need to stop making an example of the innocent black lives in the world.Most of the time it happens for no reason,” said junior CJ Parvelus, a member of Iota.“Plus the news sheds no light on the injustice. It’s almost as if it didn’t happen, but the content that is being televised to me is not relevant and important to the real matter that we are ignoring.”

That same study also showed that 60 unarmed people were fatally shot by police, and African American men made up 40% of those killed.

“There’s a lot of people out there that are oblivious to social injustice,” said junior Tatenda Zenenga, vice president of Iota. “Not that it’s necessarily their fault, it just doesn’t affect their day.”

As for the Black Out day, anyone walking through campus could see the support of Sacred Heart’s students.

“Many SHU students participated because they believe in a better future for everyone rather than a current society comprised of a lot of hatred and corruption,” said Carter.

The fraternity will be holding a forum discussing both the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality later on in the fall semester.

“Our purpose of this forum is to create a platform for many SHU students to voice their opinions, engage in a mature discussion of social justice, conjure ways to resolve this conflict and allow many students to gain enlightenment on what is occurring in our society,” said Carter.

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