YDSA, BSU to host Bobby Seale of Black Panthers

Fireside chat encourages education of Black history, Black Panther Party

Ryley Wilcox

The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) and the Black Student Union (BSU) are co-hosting a fireside chat, “Last Standing, Still Fighting” with co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, in Jamrich 1100. 

Andrew Gordon, YDSA president, and MarLanaysia Rosser, BSU president, will be leading the fireside chat, talking with Seale about his life experiences, the founding of the Black Panthers, the Ten-Point Program and the Chicago Seven Trial, among many other topics.

Gordon had the idea to bring in the engineer, political activist and author and reached out to BSU to get their group on board. He found Seale’s email and began discussions with his agent. 

“I wondered if we could get him to come speak on campus,” Gordon said. “His agents contacted me so I just talked to this agent for about a month, and I said it wouldn’t make sense for YDSA to just be on this, Black Student Union should be on this.”

The YDSA is a student organization, with a “mission to educate and organize students and young people and to play a helpful and principled role in the movement for social justice,” according to their student group listing on the Hub

“The Panthers were a Marxist group, they were all socialists,” Gordon said. “They wanted an end to the capitalist exploitation of their communities, that’s in the foundation of their party.”

Rosser said education like this is important for people to learn about events like the Civil Rights Movement, the Jim Crow Era and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade that happened not all that long ago, often leaving people blindsided or oblivious to American history. 

“It’s important for our generation to not forget that and to keep learning because oftentimes, a lot of people stop learning,” Rosser said. “We aren’t taught this stuff in school either, so it’s important to learn.” 

This aligns with the BSU’s goal of “creating an inclusive and understanding space for the education of the Black experience, culture and history on campus,” according to their student group listing on the Hub.

Leading up to the presentation, both groups have been giving and gaining support from the community. Gordon hung posters all around Marquette, and Rosser received feedback via email from community members.

“I had a sixty-nine-year-old email us,” Rosser said. “He said he wasn’t an NMU student but would be disappointed if he couldn’t come.” 

As of Tuesday, the event has nearly 100 participants registered on the Hub to attend. Rosser hopes to pack the house, she said. 

“It’s free for everyone,” Gordon said. “[It’s a] once in a lifetime experience.”