SIU’s Black Male Roundtable meet with curious high school students

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By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

Members of the Black Male Roundtable visited students at the Rebound High School in Carbondale to bridge a gap between the SIU and Carbondale communities.

“[BMR] came to talk to our students who are working on their GED or high school diploma about going on to college and what it’s going to be like to be an incoming freshman and what they should prepare for,” said Sandy Snowden, Rebound’s program coordinator. “I hope to set up another meeting with these guys.”

Rebound High School has more than 80 students, including dropouts and adults without diplomas or GEDs, from across southern Illinois working to advance their education. 

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Black Male Roundtable, an RSO that informs and empowers black men at SIU through meetings and demonstrations, visited the school to answer questions about anything from college life to politics, said BMR president Michael Smith 

“Why do you go to SIU? I saw on Facebook that they’re racist,” a Rebound student asked Smith, a junior from Chicago studying political science.

Smith responded to the student by trying to toe the line between respecting each political opinion and giving an honest assessment of the situation.

The conversation turned to the presidential election, weighing the pros and cons of each candidate — something a political science major has no problem with.

This was the first meeting between the two groups of students, and Smith said he would like to keep the dialogue open for students interested in collegiate opportunities after graduation.

Planning for this discussion began in the fall when Smith approached Carbondale Community High School principal Daniel Booth.

“They were very persistent,” Booth said. “I thought they should talk to middle school students to get them think about the future early. I said, it may be good for you to talk to the students in Rebound, because they’re in a place where they are thinking ‘what is next.’ They were very outreach oriented, and I respected that.”

Evan Jones can be reached at ej[email protected] or at 618-536-3329.

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