By Kassidy Bowering
Every black mind matters, and Purchase is trying to help spread that message with its recent Black History Month event “Black Minds Matter,” hosted by Akeera Peterkin, a clinical social worker on campus. Unfortunately, only one student’s mind showed up.
While this event was held to open up a conversation for black students to convey their thoughts and feelings on subjects such as past racist experiences and mental health stigma, the conversation stayed relatively tame and short.
The event started at 1 p.m., and 10 minutes later, there was only one student in attendance, Wade Green, a senior communications major, and one staff member. This did not stop Peterkin from continuing the event, but instead allowed her to speak very one on one with the group and get personal with past encounters.
Both attendees talked of their upbringing and dealing with the culture shock differences from moving from the city to upstate.
“I went from going to class with people that all looked like me, to being the only black kid,” Green said. “We had a black hallway, where all the black kids would just hangout in front of the lockers.”
Peterkin also talked about her personal experiences, and how they led her to her path here at Purchase as a clinical social worker. She talked of the importance for black students to be aware of their own mental health and understand all that is available to them at Purchase.
While Peterkin is the only black staff member in the Counseling Center currently, the Student Senate is currently pushing for more hires, and Peterkin sees the need.
“Most weeks I’m booked at least three weeks out because students will request me specifically,” she said.
She continued on to say that there’s a need for black students to be able to relate to their therapist.
“For most of my black students, it’s their first time in therapy, not so much with the white students,” she said.
Just before approximately the last 20 minutes of the hour and a half long event, two more students showed up. This allowed Peterkin to revisit previous topics and get more perspectives and personal experiences on representation in media. Gabrielle Union, the Obama’s and the show Friends were only a few of the many topics discussed.
There is still time for black students, staff and faculty to partake in upcoming Black History Month events.
Soul Voices: Lift Evr’y Voice: Feb. 26, 2020 7:00 p.m. Music Building