Shaun King challenges LSU students to stand for social justice

February 2017

Black Lives Matter and New York Daily News writer Shaun King challenged LSU Students to spend the next four years fighting for change on the local level to make for a better nation in the future.

Students, faculty and community members gathered for King’s lecture, one of the many events held in January by the University in honor of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Shaun King is known for his activism involving police brutality and justice. He says that he was inspired to be an advocate in July 2014, having seen a video of a man being choked to death by a police officer.

Organizers of the event were pleased with the response.

“Looking at the audience, it was clear the University had chosen to be a movement and not a moment,” said Wes Heath, assistant director of LSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Looking at history, King said, the nation can foresee much of what will happen in the future. The premise of his speech was based on a key lesson King said helped him understand where the nation is right now.

King said humanity undergoes a “dip” after experiencing innovation – such as the first black president. He said his theory was built upon the thoughts of Leopold von Ranke, a historian and father of the study of history.

In the 1850s, Von Ranke created a timeline of human history to grasp a better understanding of the trends of humanity. He found that human beings wanted to believe that we were steadily getting better, but what he found was that people were confusing the steady improvement of technology with the steady improvement of humanity, King said.  

“Human beings can be amazing, cooperative and peaceful and there are pockets of peace throughout history, but there are times of decline as well,” says King.

He reminded the audience that the deadliest hate crime of the past 80 years against black people did not happen in the civil rights movement, but just two summers ago when Dylann Roof killed nine black Americans in a church in South Carolina.

King encouraged the audience with the final thought: “Outrage and action have to be on the same level and I am not asking you to take your outrage down, I am asking you to bring your action up.”

Adapted from an article by The Daily Reveille’s Hannah Venerella. You can find the original article here: