Marc Lamont Hill visits UCF, talks with students about igniting change

Photo by Cidney Bachert. Marc Lamont Hill spoke with students Monday about America in its present state.

Marc Lamont Hill visited UCF Monday and spoke with students and community members about the pressing political and social issues that affect the black and minority communities today.

The event was hosted in the Morgridge International Reading Center on campus from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and covered topics ranging from President Donald Trump and his policies to making a difference in the community. It was to kick off Black History Month, which begins Wednesday.

Hill has a doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a social justice advocate and organizer. He currently hosts HuffPost Live and is also a BET news correspondent and a CNN political commentator.

Hill is also a distinguished professor of African-American Studies at Morehouse College. He is the author or co-author of four books, including the award-winning Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity.

The event started with an introduction of Hill from Shaya Morgan, the culture director for the Multicultural Student Center. Hill then began addressing the audience about America’s current social and political status.

“I think that right now in 2017, there’s an opportunity for you all to do something special,” Hill said. “We are at a moment in history that is almost unlike any other moment. It’s not the worst, but it’s unusual. It’s extraordinary, and it’s one that demands our attention. We can’t afford to do nothing.”

Hill addressed where some people thought America was at eight years ago when former President Barack Obama was elected into office.

“Eight years ago, a lot of people thought that America had turned a corner,” Hill said. “They thought that we had entered a post racial moment. They thought that we had arrived in a place that we had never been before. They thought that America had grown up. They thought that we had matured. They thought that our democracy had been completed.”

He continued to say that in 2008, Americans felt good about having Obama in the White House, but for many people, this feeling of accomplishment went away in 2016 after the election.

Hill then spoke with the audience about what they could do as activists and organizers, to initiate change within the community and in the country.

“The first thing we have to do as organizers, as activists and as students is listen,” Hill said. “We have to begin to listen to people who are engaged in different movements and different struggles.”

Hill continued to say that it was important to connect problems together, such as education, prisons, capital issues in the United States and violence overseas, to allow activists to put their energy toward a cause and allow it to have a domino effect.

The next thing that Hill encouraged the audience to do was to ask different questions, followed by taking action and organizing.

Hill then opened the floor for questions. The audience asked him about his take on politics and third parties in the election to what others could do in the community to take action and how the media is covering politics and politicians.

Miles Plaskett, a psychology major, enjoyed Hill and his ideals and ways of looking at the present.

“That was amazing and really insightful and really brought us together, especially the concept of being linked together and linking ideas together,” Plaskett, 19, said.