CNN commentator encourages crowd to agitate, advocate

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CNN commentator Angela Rye, left, talks with Dillard student Lydia Paige Moffett at the dinner before Rye's Brain Food lecture on Nov. 16 in Georges Auditorium.

NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 20, 2017) – The black community needs agitators, activists and advocators to begin the process for change, CNN political commentator and analyst Angela Rye said Nov. 16 in Georges Auditorium.

Rye, the guest speaker for the Justice Revius O. Ortique Jr. Lecture on Law and Society, a feature of the Brain Food lecture series, added that it’s “important to have a clear understanding of where we are” to go forward.

Rye lamented the fact that 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Where Do We Go from Here?” speech in 1967, African Americans still are dealing with some of the same issues, such as voter suppression and black oppression.

Rye listed a few of the disparities within the black community: nearly a third of black children living in poverty, compared with 12 percent white while; 41 percent of blacks who complete their college education, compared to 63 percent white; and 36 percent of black ninth-graders who are suspended or expelled, compared to 14 percent white

She said, “I find myself with these conflicting emotions because, on one hand, I’m so glad that he’s speaking to everything that we’re dealing with. But the conundrum I find myself in is why are we still dealing with this?”

She urged the audience to ask themselves one question every day when they wake up: What am I going to do to turn this particular system on its head?

“We need to be working to create and restore unity in our communities. We have to overcome oppression even when there are clear roadblocks…We should buy black, bank black and give black,” said Rye.

“Every single one of us needs to be activists.”

Rye, a native of Seattle, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and her law degree from Seattle University School of Law. She is CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm in Washington, D.C. a non-profit organization to help young professionals succeed in economic empowerment, civic engagement and political involvement.

She has served on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee and Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network.