UHV students discuss America year after election

Gabriella Canales By Gabriella Canales

Nov. 16, 2017 at 9:36 p.m.
Updated Nov. 17, 2017 at 6 a.m.

San Francisco 49ers  quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, and teammates  Eli Harold, left, and Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem prior to an Oct. 2, 2016 game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, and teammates Eli Harold, left, and Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem prior to an Oct. 2, 2016 game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif.    AP for The Victoria Advocate

Sitting in a packed audience, Alejandro Hinojosa spoke about whether football is an appropriate platform for Colin Kaepernick and other players to take a knee during the national anthem.

"He is representing his team and organization," said Hinojosa, 18, a University of Houston-Victoria freshman. "He could have done it on his own without putting pressure on his teammates."

Hinojosa was in an audience of students, community members and the university's Black Student Union on campus Wednesday to discuss social issues at "America One Year After the Election."

The goal was to talk about the state of America, said Olajumoke "Jumie" Awe, a senior and club president. Topics included the Charlottesville protests, how President Donald Trump handled natural disasters and the right to protest.

Organization members wanted a broader subject at this year's town hall meeting because last year's topic focused on Kaepernick, she said.

"We decided to do an overall outlook because there's been so many things going on," said Awe, 21.

Junior Jocara Journet spoke about whether African Americans are statistics.

"We are buying into a cycle," Journet, 20, said. "The system is designed to break us because we are not voting or educating ourselves."

Despite an array of comments, everyone's opinions are valued and respected, Awe said.

However, Hinojosa said he was feeling less than great after voicing his views that are on the conservative side.

"It's a good discussion to have, but on the other hand, you couldn't comment or disagree," he said. "You can't say, 'Trump is doing a good job' without getting yelled at."

He suggested adding a panel member with opposing views or a variety of panel members in future discussions.

"Mix it up," he said. "It would create a safe feeling and more participation."

The conversation educates people and gives a different perspective on the world, Awe said.

"In a community where there's so many different personalities, political views and races, it's good to know the mindset of someone else and where they're coming from," she said. "Go into the mind of someone else and see how they think and why they feel the way they feel."


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