Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Social justice activist Shaun King visits UNA

FLORENCE, Ala. - He was one of the loudest voices for Black Lives Matter. On Thursday evening, Shaun King visited Alabama to talk about what he calls the modern civil rights movement.

There was a frank discussion about race happening on the University of North Alabama campus.

"This is something we always need to talk about," UNA senior Courtney Harris said.

"I feel like if they're in fear of the topic, then they don't want to acknowledge what's happening around them," UNA senior Taylor Moss said.

Leaders at UNA invited King, an activist and writer, champion of the Black Lives Matter movement to share some troubling numbers.

"In 2014, over 1,100 people were killed by police. And zero police officers, none were held accountable," King said.

Over the last five years, King has traveled the country, engaging fellow activists to seek social justice and change.

"Can we not agree that one percent of those were wrong? And what we came to find out was there would be no middle ground," King said.

Over 200 people, including college students, showed up to Norton auditorium for an open discussion of what school leaders call the modern civil rights movement.

"We're excited about having someone here they know. Someone who's relatable. Someone who's active on social media," Jennifer Sutton, UNA's director of Housing and Residence Life.

The college wanted King to bring an honest and open discussion on race and police interaction, and a criminal justice system many students view as unfair.

"It continues to happen to this day, it will always happen. And it'll always be part of the discussion we all need to have in Alabama. It's part of our history, it's part of our future. It's something we as students need to know and talk about," Harris said.

The talk was hosted by UNA's Housing and Residence Life and the sociology department.