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A series of panels was held on Black Solidarity Day at the University at Albany to discuss the roles and plights faced by the African-American community in this year’s election.

In collaboration with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, and the Albany State University Black Alliance, ASUBA, the Monday event discussed the social, political, and economic representation of the African-American community.

Black Solidarity Day was created in 1969 by Dr. Carlos E. Russell, and is usually held the day before a major election to bring to light the importance of black voters as well as bringing further awareness of political and economic oppression faced by the black community, according to mytruesense.org.

“In this fertile intellectual cultural and political soil, Black People in the United States questioned our relationship to this country song with its multi-century mistreatment of us, and we seriously discussed and implemented ways to redefine that homogeneous relationship,” according to  mytruesense.org.

Accompanied by an audience dressed completely in black, the panels that took place at Albany examined a variety of controversial topics such as “Health in the African-American Community,” which explored the issues like the lack of treatment for heart disease and obesity in impoverished communities. These issues are substantial in comparison to other ethnic communities.

Another event, “Unbossed and Unbothered: Black Women’s Impact on the 2016 Election,” delved right into the current presidential debate and discussed the effective role that black women played in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

According to Ashley Weatherford of the NYMag, “The black women’s roles spread across all layers and tiers of the campaign. They are designers, accountants, and senior policy advisers. They are campaign veterans and political neophytes.”

The 2016 Presidential Election finally at a close, the words spoken at the different panels continue to resonate as the continued roles of black representations in politics are kept at a minimum.

The panel “The Black Presidency: The Politics of Race in America” was led by UAlbany’s own Omega Phi Beta. This explored the questions surrounding President Barack Obama’s term and accomplishments. However, the bigger question that was raised was whether the president’s accomplishments will be acknowledged in the history books or overshadowed by being the first black president.

According to the panel, one such acknowledgment should be Obama’s plummet of unemployment. Currently it is below five percent in comparison to the historic mark set by George W. Bush’s presidency.

The main topic of the panel was a dissection of the term “glass ceiling,” which is defined as an unofficial acknowledged barrier to advance in a position. Although the president’s role has inspired more involvement in politics for minorities, there is still a lot to be done.

The day of panels was concluded with several performances and speeches, which included UAlbany’s Precizun Step Team as well as the Black Theatre Productions’ powerful poetry performance.

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