#eye #eye

The Black Experience in Monmouth Continued

︎︎︎Click the audio pieces below to hear more about the experience of being Black in Monmouth︎︎︎

Tatiana Whitlow
In their 3rd year at Western Oregon University majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Art and Sociology, Tatiana Whitlow, 20, has found themselves making decisions on what to wear in public and how to act to appear less threatening to those in the community. Whitlow, also the Membership Outreach Coordinator for BSU, is well-educated on the racist history of Oregon and believes that the lack of acknowledgment of Black voices in the community is a huge boundary that Monmouth needs to overcome.

Logan Jackson
Logan Jackson, student and President of BSU, highlights an issue that a few others addressed, the lack of Black representation within the community. Having been only one of three Black students on the track program during her first year at WOU, she’s experienced first-hand the biases that are constantly used against Black people in the community. Jackson expresses that the lack of Black participation within the BLM/M4J protest could be due to mental fatigue. Being Black and being expected to go out every day and fight for other people to treat you with respect and decency is exhausting.

Elizabeth (ZZ) Braatz
Washington native, Elizabeth (ZZ) Braatz is no stranger to small-town life. Having grown up on one of the few islands in the Northwest corner of Washington, Braatz expected Monmouth to be similar to the small town she grew up in. During her time studying at WOU, Braatz realizes that the perception of the Black community from residents in Monmouth causes more harm than people understand. From being followed around by a truck sporting confederate flags to being completely overlooked for opportunities at the university, Braatz maintains that Monmouth needs to do more than weekly protests to address these deeply rooted issues.

Marnasha Fowlkes-Ketz
After spending five years in Monmouth, 23-year-old nursing student and CNA Marnasha Fowkles-Ketz recounts never having met a Black person who was born and raised in Monmouth. A large percentage of the Black population in Monmouth exists within Western Oregon University and because of that, the numbers are always changing and the Black residents never stay too long. Fowkles-Ketz, a Portland native, also shares her opinion on the M4J group expressing that Black residents may be reluctant to participate out of fear. However, she applauds McKiel and the other participants for using their privilege and time to make the Black community more seen.

(Due to technical malfunctions, the audio is muffled and slightly difficult to hear throughout this piece)