FSU’s Club Downunder held a Gold Ceremony last Tuesday with attorney general Benjamin Crump to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Week. Crump spoke of the inequities in the US Criminal Justice system and his ongoing fight against injustice.
Crump, a Florida State graduate, has represented the families of many of the country’s highest-profile civil cases, including Trayvon Martin. , Ahmaud Arbery, Martin Lee Anderson, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Dubbed “Black America’s Attorney General” for his hard work fighting racial inequality, Crump’s appearance on campus is a unique opportunity for students and faculty to continue the discussion of justice for Black America.
The event began with a few words from Provost Jim Clark about King and his commitment to racial equality and was followed by a moment of silence to honor King’s life and legacy. FSU’s Rachel Anderson belted out “The Star Spangled Banner,” before the FSU Gospel Choir performed the “Black National Anthem.”
After a standing ovation, Crump strode onto the stage wearing snakeskin loafers and dress socks to match the law. showing the place and measure of judgment. He soon took the seat next to his interviewer, FSU’s sociology and African American studies professor, Dr. Shantel Buggs.
When asked why he chose to become a civil rights attorney, Crump explained that growing up in Lumberton, NC, he learned at a young age that “discrimination is not it’s physical abuse.” After his mother told him that Black children were now allowed to enjoy the opportunities of white children in his town because of the civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall’s work in the case Brown v. Board of Education, Crump vowed that his work would be dedicated to help. “people who look like me” have an equal chance at achieving the American dream.
Since then, Crump has worked in admissions at FSU, a place he said made him realize he could achieve anything he put his mind to. “We were inspired that we could change the world,” Crump said. The North Carolina native grew up socially and academically, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a Juris Doctor in 1995. At FSU, as he proudly states, he was also a lifetime member of the Mighty Mighty Chi Theta chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
When it comes to why he chose to take the lead on such humanitarian issues, Crump explains the importance of representing crises to change people. He said, in order to achieve the foundation of the American Constitution: “A Black baby born to a Black mother, the most uneducated, the most ignorant, the poorest Black woman, is the same rights as a white baby born to a white. mother, the most educated, most articulate, most wealthy white mother because that baby took her first breath as an American citizen,” Crump said.
Although Crump said that many policies cannot keep up with the advancement of social media in today’s world, he said that there is an opportunity to get the truth out there. camera and shared with a public. “Without the video of George Floyd, those officers would not have been convicted,” Crump said. Crump explained that the story that had already been written that night by the officers was that they could not have been charged if no one had been arrested that day.
After the questions of Dr. Bugg, Crump allowed the audience to come forward with their own questions during a Q&A period. FSView requested an attorney’s position on police accountability and police protection.
Crump answered that while the police are “the most people we see,” who are doing acts of racial inequality, “it’s the system.” According to Crump, one in three black men are convicted of crimes in America and more than 40 percent of those on death row are black men. “Since they say it’s the law, it doesn’t mean it’s right,” said the rights lawyer. “One in three black men must wear (that) red letter for the rest of their lives as a second citizen.”
Crump concluded the event with a statement on why everyone should join the fight against injustice and inequality. “…When we fight for the Trayvon Martins of the world, when we fight for the Breonna Taylors of the world, when we fight for the George Floyds of the world and more importantly when we fight for the the least of these things, we will have. Doing so is helping America live up to its ideals,” Crump said. “But what we are really doing is helping America to be America for all Americans, because we have to make the law an instrument of good.”
George Limage, president of the Mighty, Mighty Chi Theta Chapter, shared his feelings on seeing one of his own so successful and influential in the world while bringing justice to the voiceless. . “I feel like Brother Crump is setting a high standard for our organization, (so) we’re proud of him as a part of the team.”
The president of the Student Government Association (SGA), Sam Diaz, said he hopes to implement some of the ideas suggested by Crump in Tuesday’s Q & A to prevent discrimination against minority groups at FSU. such as recent attacks planned on the LGBTQ + community. “Learning from his example will help us continue to promote human and civil rights here on campus.”