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Stories and Lessons from Ferguson: Dr. Stefan Bradley to Speak at CWU

By: Forrest Hollingsworth

Dr. Stefan Bradley is coming home with something to say.

Bradley, Director of the African American Studies program and Associate Professor of History at Saint Louis University, will share his experiences with black student activism and academic achievement Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in the CWU Wellington Event Center. His talk, “Freedom and Beyond: Activism, Access and Achievement in the Age of Ferguson” will be free and open to the public.

Born and raised in Yakima, Wash., A professor, speaker, author and mentor, Bradley has devoted his career to the study of black student activism and achievement at universities around the nation. His book on the topic, “Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s” won the 2010 Phillis Wheatley Award. 

He feels that it is his, and other educators, responsibility to encourage and foster the growth and achievements of younger generations in the face of injustice. 

“It would be sinful of me to let the older generation sacrifice themselves and for me to not pay that favor forward to the younger generation…it’s not good enough to be just a scholar. It’s not good enough to be just a teacher. There’s a responsibility. It’s the responsibility to let people know that we’re available,” Bradley said.

Bradley says his talk will focus on the actions of young protesters, organizers and students that he was inspired by during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri sparked by the death of Michael Brown in March of 2014. 

“It’s my opportunity to share with people in the audience what the uprising in Ferguson looked like at the ground level as a professor in the area,” Bradley said. 

Bradley said he is excited to come to home, which he hasn’t done in awhile, and to speak with students about the things that were important to him growing up in the area and what those issues now look like on college campuses nationwide. 

“I’ve been working hard to do all the things people said I could do growing up. When I left Washington State it was in my mind to make my city, my family, my community and my state proud. That was my goal,” Bradley said. 

Bradley’s appearance at the university is a continuation of CWU’s Social Justice and Human
Rights Series. This year’s inaugural theme, Mass Incarceration and Racial Justice: Black and Brown Lives Do Matter, aims to educate Central’s community and initiate discussions about race. He will be meeting with students before his talk to discuss the importance of student academic achievement, activism and involvement.

“I think bringing Bradley allows our students to see a major black scholar and achiever from their community talking about what affects them,” Dr. Keith Champagne, Associate Dean of Student Development and Success at Central said. “He’s someone they can imitate and emulate.”

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