Stephanie Bradley and Her Fight for Her Students and Racial Justice

3 min read Stephanie Bradley urges allies and those around them to continue the fight for racial justice surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Women at protest

Photo Credit: (The Tartan Staff) Dr. Bradley made it clear that the event and topic should always center around the students who need it most.

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By Abigail Morin | amorin1@radford.edu

Dr. Stephanie Bradley, Assistant Professor for the Sociology Department at Radford University, was an ally speaker at The Bigger Picture March on Radford’s campus.

Dr. Bradley decided to speak in the March due to the will of the students.

She was apprehensive at first, thinking that only students and non-allies should be taking the stage. 

However, the students who organized the March wanted someone to speak to the allies.

After deciding to speak at the March, she went to Devante Mosley to see if he preferred the speech’s tone. Mosley wanted allies to feel welcome and comfortable in the space.

“No matter what, the students should be the center of this story,” Dr. Bradley said.

Originally Dr. Bradley wasn’t supposed to be a key speaker. She was going to co-lead an ally breakout group. She was determined to be a supportive ally and help the students in any way possible.

She was determined to be a supportive ally and help the students in any way possible.

Even with pushback and threats from the community, Dr. Bradley wasn’t very concerned. She knew she had the full support of the university, her dean, and fellow faculty. She would have had many safety concerns from those outside the event if it weren’t for the university’s students and staff’s planning.

As an educator, Dr. Bradley said, she “looks forward to opportunities to engage diversity points.”

Dr. Bradley wants to be someone who students can rely on in need of support and looks forward to engaging in conversation with people and asking why people think the way they do.

When speaking to a class on the March, Dr. Bradley said, “like, in other times, where we might need to take up a collection for someone who’s struggling in some way, we need to focus on our Black neighbors, friends, and peers. I will be a part of that unapologetically.”

Photo Credit: (The Tartan Staff) Students who organized the March wanted someone to speak to the allies.

Dr. Bradley said, “the assertion that Black Lives Matter (BLM) does not at all take away from the care of any other student group, or any group … I just want to let you know, in my remarks, I’m going to say BLM over and over again.” 

Dr. Matthew Smith, Dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, said in response, “why is today any different than another day? Of course, they do.”

There have been many negative feelings towards the BLM movement, especially around Radford’s community.

When asked how she would respond to those who say that “Black lives don’t matter,” Dr. Bradley went the route of compassion and understanding.

There have been many negative feelings towards the BLM movement, especially around Radford’s community.

Dr. Bradley said, “we are rarely going to get our point across on social media, or if someone has their heels dug in, and it becomes something other than the central focus.” She feels that if someone makes adverse claims about Black lives, it might not be what they believe. 

Dr. Bradley believes those who have negative feelings towards the BLM movement have underlying feelings. That those who say that they don’t like BLM means they don’t like rioting and looting. 

However, Dr. Bradley wants to stress that “saying BLM has nothing to do with rioting and looting; those two things are not the same.”

Dr. Bradley says she always backs her claims up with data and research. She believes that misinformation causes people not to research before having a particular view.

Dr. Bradley said, “In our country, we have had a racist past, and as the numerical majority, allies need to be supporting one another.” She said, “BLM, and so do all the students and people around.”

Dr. Bradley urges people to have a conversation, strive to learn, and be better.

“The whole topic has become sensitive; people don’t want to say the wrong thing,” Dr. Bradley said. “But if we never say anything, then we will never progress, so we have to be willing to be vulnerable.”

Dr. Bradley made it clear that the event and topic should always center around the students who need it most.