UVI Speech Students Share Their Final Presentations Online

Students in the UVI communications class taught by ChenziRa Davis-Kahina, upper left, make their final presentations during a Zoom session. (Screen capture)

Students of the UVI public speaking course shared their final projects of the spring semester online, covering a variety of topics including police brutality and the missing senior citizens of the USVI.

Gizell Barthlett, the first student to present during the May 6 Zoom session, discussed the effects of racism within local police departments and how it plays a major role in the police brutality happening in Black and brown communities across the U.S.

“Imagine working so hard to get that dream job, that you’re able to get that dream house and even that dream car,” Barthlett said, “to only one day be stopped by police because of the color of your skin and the fact that it is unimaginable for a person of color to have such a luxurious lifestyle.”

Statistics from the FBI database say that Blacks are 50 percent more violent with murders than any other race. These same statistics are given to local police departments, according to Barthlett.

“This is exactly why we are approached the way we are,” she said.

Barthlett ended her presentation by discussing ways the community can help put an end to police brutality.

“What we need to do as a community is start with lawsuits. The more lawsuits given toward police officers the more money they lose and the more they will begin to follow the laws and do what they’re supposed to do,” she said.

Another student discussed the rising number of senior citizens going missing in the United States Virgin Islands. Felisha Felix-Fontaine said she believes the missing senior citizen problem is being overlooked and wants to bring more awareness to the issue.

“Children and senior citizens are the most vulnerable groups, and they face a higher risk of kidnapping, abuse and assault,” Felix-Fontaine said. “So, I came up with safety measures and protocols that can be implemented by VIPD, DHS and VITEMA to handle this unraveling crisis.”

Some of Felix-Fontaine’s solutions include:
– The V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency using its silver alert system more promptly, requesting services from Red Cross and fire rescue to organize search efforts.
– Authorities visiting homes and collecting evidence, including DNA, from family members.
– Local authorities keeping in contact with those who make the missing person report.
– Local authorities making sure that photos and personal information of those missing are kept up to date and entered into the appropriate databases.

“As a community, we have to do better for our seniors and get comfortable with reporting unusual sightings and assisting the elderly on the streets when we see something out of place,” she said. “We are our brother’s keepers, and we need to put that into practice again.”

Each project was critiqued and graded by UVI communications professor, Dr. ChenziRa Davis-Kahina, who expressed her gratitude for the students’ hard work and dedication throughout finishing the public speaking course.

“You all did quite well and gave a lot of information,” said Davis-Kahina. “Everyone brought their own niche to this discussion and their presentations.”

All of the final projects can be seen on WUVI Radio’s Facebook page. Comments can be left on the page congratulating the students on completing the spring semester course.