SU student leader calls violence a racial issue - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

SU student leader calls violence a racial issue

Dadrius Lanus Dadrius Lanus

By David Spunt - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One of the student leaders at Southern University said he believes the recent violence which left two of his peers dead is a race issue.

Southern NAACP Vice President Dadrius Lanus did not hold back in his comments Tuesday. He said he's tired of seeing young people brutally murdered.

Ferdinand Dorsey Jr. was shot to death Monday night at The Palisades near Southern's campus. Sheena Barnett was found beaten to death in her burned apartment over the weekend. Both were students at Southern University.

"It hurts, it absolutely hurts," Lanus said. "It hurts from a student perspective and it hurts from a community perspective."

Lanus admitted it is not easy for him to say this is a racial issue, but he feels it is the only way things may change. He was very candid in his comments on the subject.

"A lot of people want to run away from the fact that, 'Oh, maybe it's not so racial,' but we have to take account and we have to say, 'Okay, it is a race thing,' and until we step up as a race and say it's time for us to really make a change in our communities, we're not going to find change. That's why the same things have been happening for so long. If you pay attention to what happened in the Civil Rights Movement, it took the youth to bring those communities together and that's what it's going to take, the youth again to bring our communities together," he explained.

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden also spoke Tuesday about the recent crime wave. He said change could come from a simple phone call.

"Why don't you start calling us now and tell us exactly what's going on in these communities?" he questioned.

Lanus said he appreciates the mayor and other leaders who want to help, but believes the real way to fix it is for people his age to step up to the plate and call for the violence to stop. He already has one solution he thinks will work.

"A lot of them don't have father figures. Where there's a lack of father figures, we have to step up and be big brother figures to these young men," he added.

Southern University released the following statement:

"The Southern University family extends its prayers and sympathies to the families and friends of Sheena Barnett and Ferdinand M. Dorsey Jr. While we are in mourning today, we will be focusing on how Southern University can assist in stemming the tide of senseless violence in our community."

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