On April 30, 2015, Bellevue College’s Black Student Union and the Office of Student Legislative Affairs held an event that welcomed King Country Councilman Larry Gossett, who came to speak about social justice, voter rights and his motivation for establishing the Black Student Union at the University of Washington.
Gossett was raised in Seattle and graduated from Franklin High School. After spending two years at UW, he became a volunteer for VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, and helped the impoverished families in Harlem, New York. Currently, Gossett represents several Seattle neighborhoods, which include Central Area, Capitol Hill, Rainer Valley, UW and Ravenna. Gossett was one of the main leaders in the change of logos, which represented King County, from being a crown to a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 2007.
According to BSU coordinator David Joseph and BSU advisor Krischanna Roberson, Gossett was asked to speak about issues in the past and how they correspond to many of the similar events that are happening today. “The reason why the Black Student Union decided to invite Council Member Gossett this year was primarily because of the issues regarding Ferguson, and now with the more recent event in Baltimore,” said Joseph.
Gossett gave his insight about many of the current events that involved social injustice such as Ferguson and the most recent controversy in Baltimore.
According to Gossett, “We, as a city, need to move towards the type of democracy that our country preaches for. A type of democracy that supports all races.” Furthermore, Gossett spoke about issues the African-American population has faced in the last several decades, from racism to their historic struggle for civil rights.
Gossett also shared about his past and how he started the first BSU. “We wanted him to really motivate students to become leaders in their communities, like with what he did in starting the BSU,” said Joseph.
“As one of the council members of King County and the only African American, I represent many ethnically diverse communities,” said Gossett during his closing speech. “Over 70 languages are spoken in the district that I oversee. It is essential that we do not allow the walls of racism and cultural differences prevent us from treating each other like decent and rational human beings,” Gossett elaborated. He believes that it is important for the United States to bring people of all cultures and sexual orientation together.
Tiana Gonzales, a Bellevue College student, complimented Gossett’s lecture and said, “I would have liked to have heard him speak more on what he does as a council member, but I really enjoyed hearing him talk about cultural diversity and unity against racism.”