[MUSIC] In studio now is Taylor Lewis, an Essence editorial assistant who says the Miss-U crisis hit close to home for her literally. Welcome, Taylor. Thank you. Thank you for joining us. Now you Who wrote the article on essence.com around the protest and informing all of our viewers and audience members out there, tell us about your connection to the school. Well, I grew up in a suburb outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Okay. It's about two hours west of Columbia, where the University of Missouri is And I had a lot of classmates naturally who went to the University Of Missouri and as a matter of fact I briefly considered going to MU. Mm-hm. One because they have a very good journalism program there but whenever I spoke to my. My Uncle about it. He literally threatened to disown me. He- Why? Well I come from a long line of Jayhawks for one. [LAUGH] Second of all, he pointed out that the city of Columbia is very racist. It was racist whenever he was applying to colleges in the 1970s, and it still is. And for that matter, I decided to attend the University of Kansas. So he was concerned about the climate, how it may or not effect you, situations you may find yourself in. Exactly, exactly. And what can you tell us about the overall climate in Missouri now, for African Americans? Well, it is changing. Is this like a post Ferguson change you feel, or something that has been slowly [INAUDIBLE] Is post Ferguson. Back home it wasn't uncommon you know to see a Ford pick up truck driving around with a confetti flag on it. I understand, I'm from Louisiana. Right? Exactly. I went to a predominantly white high school and there were minor instances of discrimination there but post Ferguson it feels like The state is just in a state of turmoil. And is literally moving closer to home. Do you feel like there's something bubbling under the surface? I mean this was a very peaceful protest by the students but the response has been that of threats and violence. What do you think the trajectory might be moving forward? I think that honestly this is a catalyst for conversations that need to be had. Students have had these concerns for a really long time and I think it's excellent that these Mizzou students are talking about it and getting these conversations our there. And letting people know that this is happening. We are facing this on a daily basis. And what would you say to other college students watching who might feel discouraged about continuing their studies that can sometimes be an uncomfortable, unwelcoming environments? You know, I think coming from, I went to the University of Kansas ultimately- Which is a predominantly white institution. Exactly, and I faced minor cases of discrimination, nothing major, noteworthy. But I think it's important for students everywhere at PWIs to remember that they have a right to be on campus, they are entitled to an education Just like any other student of any race is entitled to. And it's important to keep reminding themselves of that, and also like the masseuse students, to keep having those conversations wit your friends and professors and mentors and students of other cultures, because that's how you ultimately lead to change.
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