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Black History Month 2015: What's the 411?

The Blog

Black History Month 2015: What's the 411?

The Ankh

Black History Month (BHM) at Wesleyan has been a huge success with a number of well attended events that discussed various issues within the Black Community and celebrated black culture. Historically, BHM has been an active time for members of the black community to pause and reflect on the progress that has been made and the progress that has yet to occur.

Black History Month Convocation Feb. 1st

Black History Month kicked off with convocation, featuring renowned community activist and director of trauma services at the Boston Public Health, keynote speaker Courtney Grey. Throughout the brunch, additional speakers featured were Alumni Nyasha Foy ’06-Chair of Wesleyan’s Black Alumni Council-Senior Aissa Gueye '15 and Freshman Victoria King '18.  

Courtney Grey

Courtney Grey

Nyasha Foy

Nyasha Foy


Young Gifted and Black Conference Feb. 6-8th

On the weekend of February 7th twenty Wes students traveled to Smith College for the Young Gifted & Black conference.  The weekend consisted of workshops, networking and bonding with other students and graduates of color. Among a series of workshops, ranging from grassroots activism to the history of the beauty salon, Wes students had the opportunity to meet, the one and only, keynote speaker Angela Davis! 

Love Jones Feb 12th

A casual discussion on black love and community was well attended by Wesleyan students, along with a few students visiting from other colleges. While enjoying the beverages and food catered, long distance relationships, inter-racial dating, lack of black couples on Wesleyan’s campus, the root of “dating preferences”, expectations for men and women of color in relationships and within the workforce, were a few of the many topics touched upon.

Ladies First & Invisible Men Speed Dating Feb.13th

 Ladies First and Invisible men kicked off the love season (or the heart themed consumerism season :) with a casual speed dating mixer in the Albrrition Lounge.

Stupid Cupid Feb. 14th

X-House, as always, provided great music and a heart themed atmosphere for the singles, couples and the hopeful to hit the dance floor!

Sunday Support Circles- Throughout the year

Sunday Support circles offers students of color an environment to relax, bond and learn from one another as people of color in a majority white space. Sunday Support Circles is continuing throughout the year- be on the look out for the next one!

 Race Representation and Television Feb. 18th

Attendees discussed and debated the positive and negative affects of black representation in the media.

Showing clips from Empire, Black-ish, Shondaland and The Nightly Show hosts lead a discussion delving into question such as, how Black representation on television both creates space for new understandings of the lived experiences of Black people while also falling back into worn out tropes. Do we like these representations? Do we want more? Or is it another level of pain to watch these kinds of representations? 

Shade of Us- Feb 19th

A discussion and workshop orchestrated for black and brown male and female identified individuals to have an open dialogue about why the fostering of negative stereotypes based off skin tones is so prevalent in our community. How do we tackle these mindsets on Wesleyan's campus, in our homes and in the workplace?



Eye Contact: Reclaiming Power Through Performance Feb 19th

On Thursday night Psi U was shaking with the power of verse, music and movement. Eye Contact: Reclaiming Power Through Performance featured talented Wesleyan artists who pushed us to re-examine our relationship to power and space.Some of the questions provoked included, How do different spaces shape our relationships to power? How does our possession (or lack) of power effect how we navigate a space? 

Art of Protest Feb. 20th

A Gallery and Open Mic Showcase celebrating black culture, art, and the power of protests at Zelnick Pavilion. SOC art pieces were displayed along with a collaborative mural by Students Justice for Palestine (SJP) and historic copies of the Ankh, dating back to its first publication in 1985. Leading up to a range of  songs and slam poetry, viewers got down to  the electric slide while signing the Art of Protest Banner.

How Caribbean Are You Really? Feb. 21

The event featured a pannel that eventually evolved into an open discussion between facilitators, panelists and audience members. Identity was at the heart of the discussion. Topics brought up included the differences between being International Caribbean vs. Caribbean American- including the privilege of having citizenship in America.  What "makes one" Caribbean? How do we/ what shapes our identities?

 Black Health Equity Forum Feb. 25th

What is the relationship between race and health? Dr. Courtney Cogburn- Assistant Professor at Columbia University- presented her research on the correlative and causative relationship between structural racism and the philological and physical health of the black community. Featured panelists included Dr. Courtney Cogburn, Dr. Allison V. Downer- Practicing adolescent and adult psychiatrist and Wesleyan alumna from the class of '89- Lynna Zhong’ 15- Research assistant at the Community Health Center- majoring in government & pre-med along with Chelsea Amo-Tweneboah ‘15- majoring in chemistry and pre-med.

 Social Death and Survival Feb. 26th

The social death panel was the first in the Social Death and Survival: Race/Sex/Gender/Vulnerability Series. The Albritton lecture hall was jammed packed with faculty and students alike.

Wesleyan faculty discussed social death and survival in relation to contemporary struggles of identity and personhood, with respect to gender & sexuality, race & nationality, and ability & disability.

Panelists included:

 Robin Autry, Sociology

Alexandre Baril, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Rachel Ellis Neyra, English

Megan Glick, American Studies

Laura Grappo, American Studies

Margot Weiss, Anthropology & American Studies

Including the Excluded Feb. 26th

CO-sponsored by SPECTRUM and QUEERWES, Justice 4 Jane organizers, Al Ricco and IV Staklo hosted a presentation and discussion on the intersectionality between race, queerness and displacement. The hosts opened up the dialogue to the trans* brothers and sisters who are often left out of the conversation. Lives beyond magazine covers and murders that don't reach the news, this event propelled and expanded Wesleyan’s #BLACKLIVESMATTERS

Jubilee Feb. 28th

The finale of Black History Month came with Ujamma’s annual BHM cultural show! From dance groups to live jazz, Crowell Concert Hall rung with the talent of Wesleyan's SOC community.