PAM students addressing racial injustice at Cornell

Bazzie Owes

Many PAM faculty members and students are familiar with Basirat Owe from their PAM classes.  Less well known is her role as Co-Chair for Black Students United.  A few year ago this group led the way in the renaming of Cornell’s lovely Arboretum, and is now engaged in raising awareness of ways our department can become involved.  They have kicked off a campaign, ending on Juneteenth, to support organizations that address racial injustice.  For those looking to make a difference, here is one way:

The recent wrongful deaths of Black Americans including Nina Pop, Tony McDade, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breanna Taylor have spurred Cornellians into action. In response to the national outcry regarding racial injustices, the Cornell Students for Black Lives (C4BL) fundraiser was started by a coalition of affinity, cultural, and professional student organizations fighting to end systemic oppression and racial injustice as a united campus. To begin this effort, they launched a campus-wide fundraiser for activist organizations that uplift the Black community, protect the protestors, and end police brutality. This will be accomplished by donating proceeds to the following: Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, Communities United for Police Reform, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southside Community Center and Tompkins County Showing Up for Racial Justice. 


As of its launch on Friday, June 5th, over 185 student organizations are reaching out to Cornell students, parents, alumni, and other affiliates to raise funds for local Ithaca and national organizations that support the Black community and oppose police brutality. The group has high aspirations for the Cornell community to use its resources to make a substantial impact in the fight for racial justice. 


C4BL announced next Friday, June 19th as the official end to their fundraising efforts - a day many Americans know as Juneteenth, which is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S. and a New York state commemorative day. 



For more information on Cornell Students for Black Lives:

Visit the group’s GoFundMe page 

Follow C4BL on Instagram and Facebook 

Read: Cornell Students for Black Lives Quickly Amasses Support, Launches Fundraiser

Read: Using Our Dollars for Change: Cornell Students for Black Lives

Listen: Interview with Cornell Students 4 Black Lives