Faculty sponsors essay competition

The FMU African-American Faculty and Staff Coalition, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the honors program are hosting Race, Culture and Understanding: An Essay Contest this semester.

Full-time FMU students can enter the essay competition. The deadline for entering essay submissions is at the end of the semester.

The first place prize winner will receive $300 and will be invited to read excerpts from his or her essay at the February symposium.

Students can write about issues in society that could change how humans view divisions of race and how they affect groups of people.

The essay competition is taking place in conjunction with a symposium on Feb. 26-28. “Beyond Mother Emanuel and The Confederate Flag: A Symposium on Race Culture and Understanding” will feature a series of panel discussions and lectures discussing race-based issues from the 2015 Emanuel AME shooting.

Six faculty and staff members helped organize the symposium and essay contest.

According to Dr. Jon Tuttle, the competition and symposium is to generate discussion about such recent upheavals such as the clash in Charlottesville and the reasons behind the rash of police shootings that inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.

“My generation is handing the next generation a whole bunch of problems that we thought were addressed 50 years ago,” Tuttle said. “Our culture is distilling itself into factions, race, ethnicities and cultures, and as a result the country is losing its identity. We need to listen to each other – all of us.”

Tuttle said that it is important to talk about the divisions in society and to understand them as well as listen and learn from each other.

“FMU has a very diverse student body that closely approximates the demographics of the area it serves,” Tuttle said. “We are- and still remain- one another’s neighbors, in-laws, co-workers, helpers and friends. Yet, there still exist – more today than 20 years ago – divisions and prejudices and assumptions on both sides of the racial divides.”