Amnesty International plans event to discuss police relations with minorities

USF will soon add another entry to its list of initiatives to help abate negative perception of relations between law enforcement officers and the community with an event presented by the campus chapter of Amnesty International.

The event, “Exploring Police and Public Relations,” is intended to open a discussion about solutions to the police violence problem that is plaguing minorities in the U.S.

Laila Abdelaziz, legislative and government affairs director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida and a USF alumna, will speak at the event, which will take place on Monday. According to its website, CAIR is “Florida’s strongest Muslim civil rights organization,” according to its website.

Fouad Albadrasawi, vice president of Amnesty International on campus, said Abdelaziz’s youth and relatable-ness make her appealing as a speaker choice for this type of event: one put on by students, for students.

“She is very well-informed on the issues at hand,” Albadrasawi said.

Both Albadrasawi and Elmunaier said they hope the event will bring about change in communities affected by police violence.

“I hear a lot about (police violence against minorities), but I don’t hear anything being done,” Albadrasawi said.

Elmunaier said students in attendance will be challenged to think critically about possible solutions to the problem of police violence.

“(The event will be a) short lecture talking about what can students specifically do about (police violence),” he said.

Elmunaier said he doesn’t want the event to be misconstrued as an “encroachment” on the Black Lives Matter movement or an attack on police. The event will be co-sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU), the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Latin American Student Association (LASA).

“If one group is hurting, we’re all hurting,” Elmunaier said.

Talking points at the event will include a discussion about the militarization of the police in America, similar to what is taking place in the Middle East. 

The purpose of the event is to empower students and encourage them to “critically think, be open, willing to listen, to be willing to question, be willing to analyze,” according to Elmunaier.

The event will be held Monday at 6 p.m. in Marshall Student Center room 2708. A free dinner will be provided.