Kalen Russell, a strategic communication major, has been actively engaged in civic activities and service to her community through multiple avenues and projects. Through uSpeak she has encouraged dialogue and policy examination between police services, civil rights professionals, and students on our campus. Through her efforts, significant progress has been made with respect to opening communication channels between these groups to create a deeper understanding of the work and challenges each experiences. She has also engaged in significant research projects that focus on black students' experiences with campus law enforcement and how we can develop strong relationships between the two.
Most biases and injustices derive from being unaware of different perspectives.
Last semester I was an event strategist for uSpeak, a campaign that sought to reduce extremist action through informing student on the necessity of Civil Rights. Most extremist action occurs when the Civil Rights of one group are infringed upon. To increase community awareness on the importance of respecting different perspectives and the rights of others, I coordinated a panel which included a representative from Oklahoma City's Police Department, Civil Rights Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations of Oklahoma, a University Staff member certified in violence de-escalation and Vice President of Black Lives Matter OKC.
I am currently a co-researcher on a project, "Black Students' Lived Experiences with Campus Law Enforcement." The goal of our project is understand if and how a Black student's experience and perception of law enforcement influences their ability to succeed in the presence of law enforcement on a college campus. I hope this project creates a better understanding between law enforcement officials and the populations they serve and serves as the beginning of a national social change.