July 13, 2020
Participants include Amy Davis, student diversity & inclusion program coordinator; Harvey Edwards, teacher-in-residence; Ed Slavishak, professor of history; and Stacey Pearson-Wharton, dean of health and wellness and director of the Counseling Center
From history to diversity to business and beyond, faculty and staff from Susquehanna University have been tapped by local and regional media for their insights into the unrest that has gripped the country since the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
“Race-based stress is a real thing; it has been widely studied,” Pearson-Wharton shared on SECV8’s In Your Neighborhood. “You see higher rates of hypertension; you also see diabetes … depression and anxiety. The racism experience is this cumulative impact because oftentimes there is the daily dealing with it in some shape or form.”
The Standard Journal called upon Slavishak to provide historical context that could predict the potential success of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Slavishak drew parallels between the BLM movement and labor strikes of the 19th century and the civil rights movement of the 1960s, both of which eventually brought about federal reforms – but even those victories took time to impact everyday lives.
“Even with a victory at the federal level, it takes years or decades for any kind of meaningful change to occur,” Slavishak said. “When it does, it occurs in piecemeal ways.”
Davis, who also appeared on In Your Neighborhood with Pearson-Wharton, discussed her own social activism and how it has impacted her hopes for the future. Davis was at a June protest in Watsontown that garnered national media attention for the vitriol brought by some anti-protestors.
“Justice will win out. Love will win out. Light will win out. Maybe I won’t see it. Maybe my child won’t see it. Maybe it will be my grandchildren, but I am in it. I’m in it for the long haul … for this community,” Davis said.
Edwards, teacher in residence, has appeared on WKOK and been interviewed by The Daily Item several times since protests erupted after George Floyd’s death in May. Edwards expressed sincere hope that the movement will finally lead to the lasting change civil rights activists have been longing for.
“I think that this is a watershed moment. I mean, progress has been made steadily over the years, but certainly not to the degree that would satisfy a whole entire country,” Edwards told WKOK. “I think that there are going to be some lasting changes this time.”