Speaker encourages students to get past texting and iPods

Kyle Roerink

Dennis Rahiim Watson, President and CEO of the Center of Black Student Achievement, dances with Dee Ruby, mother of an alumna, as he spoke last night at “Taste of Us.” The event, hosted by the student organization Harambee, also included African food and

Credit: DKS Editors

Dennis Rahiim Watson wants the Obama generation to stop texting and start making a difference in the community. Last night, the student group Harambee hosted Watson, the president and CEO of The Center For Black Student Achievement, who spoke to a crowd of more than 50 people at Oscar Ritchie Hall.

Watson said students need to know that President Obama is on the right page because he is lifting up America in the same way the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did in the 1960s, and it is time for students to think about whether or not their behavior is making a change and demanding respect.

“Barack Obama energized the college and youth community,” he said. “And our job is to get away from the nonsense, the foolishness: MTV, BET – all of the distractions – and start doing what we’re supposed to do: To help take the pressure off our parents who can’t make mortgage payments, who are out of jobs. This is not the time for lollygagging … We got to make the impossible possible.”

At last night’s event, called “A Taste of Us,” Harambee provided “soul food” to attendees. The purpose of the event was to encourage change in the community.

If Watson had a choice, he said he would make it illegal for students to go to class every day with their iPods and cell phones because the Obama generation needs to pick up books instead of phone calls.

“We got to get past all of the texting and iPods,” Watson said, “and start studying and reading and developing solutions to America’s problems.”

Senior finance major Bryan Gadson said the first step in changing the ways of our generation is self-realization by displaying the proper values and morals to society.

“(Watson) brought a light to people to provide insight on how to make themselves a better person and what we need to do in the community,” he said. “I know it was predominantly toward African-Americans, but in general, I took it as a people, all races, all nationalities need to come together and love one another.”

Watson asked the audience what word should replace the “n-word” in the community. He said when he walked into the hotel on Monday afternoon, the bellhop addressed Watson as sir, which he said may be the answer.

“Wherever I go on the planet, they call me sir,” he said. “Even people that don’t like black people call me sir. Why? Because I command respect.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].