GAINESVILLE – The University of North Georgia’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) and the Gainesville campus’s Black Student Union (BSU) hosted Dr. Douglas Ealey, Professor of Human Services Delivery and Administration, as featured speaker Wednesday afternoon as part of the school’s celebration of Black History Month.
BSU President Brittany Yancy said, “We try to do different things every Wednesday… but for Black History month…we have chosen him (Dr. Ealey) because he has been here for our weekly discussion topics and we love his input and knowledge. Our motto is: “Culture, not color.’”
“The social justice topics we discuss, we want to hear everybody’s opinion,” Yancy added.
Dr. Ealey was born in Athens, Georgia, but later moved to Maryland where he experienced a seminal moment early one morning when two police officers knocked on his door at 2 a.m. for the purpose of asking him if he knew anything about a crime that had just happened in his neighborhood.
Ealey said that experience, and the way the conversation with the two officers disintegrated, led him to reexamining his understanding of the relationship between police and black males. Ealey said despite the fact he has a dual certification from the State of Georgia in conflict resolution and mediation, the experience that night caused him to rethink some of the positions he held.
“It was not just white police officers; it was two police officers: one was black the other was white,” Ealey explained. “So it was not just the issue of ‘race’ for them; it was the issue of ‘blue’ and a black man.”
“One of my best friends is a police officer,” Ealey said with emotion beginning to show in his voice. “We graduated from the University of Georgia together. So I understand safety. I want my friends to be safe, but I also want my son any my daughter to be safe also.”
(Ealey’s presentation in its entirety is attached to this story.)
Nataly Morales Villa is a Student Advisor at UNG-Gainesville and she says in her four years as an advisor she has seen a gradual improvement in what she hears from black students in regards to their experiences with police.
“I’ve seen improvement and I believe it’s due to these kinds of events,” Villa said. “We don’t just celebrate Black History Month; we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month; U.S. History Month. So while issues have arisen they are addressed.”
Villa said the younger students seem, “more informed (about racial challenges). They are definitely more informed than when I got here.”