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Ethnic Studies

Black History Month

Theme: “Black and…”
This year’s Black History Month is organized around the theme “Black and…” Chosen by the Black Women’s Collective (BWC), the theme points to the ways in which blackness intersects with other identities and experiences, including race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion. “Black and…” also encourages us to challenge limiting ideas about what Black people can be and achieve. During Black History Month 2014, we challenge you to be Black and Successful, Black and Political, and of course, Black and Proud!

Black History Month Photo Display
Toyon Meadow, Month of February
During the entire month of February, the Black Women's Collective (BWC) will host a photo display on Toyon Meadow. Take a stroll and be prepared to be challenged and educated! The theme this year is “Black and...”

Black History Month Kick Off
12:15 pm, Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Suzanne Adams Plaza
The Black Women's Collective invites the college community to join BWC members in Adam's Plaza to celebrate the kick off of Black History Month.

Pocketbook and Panza Monologues
7:00 pm, Thursday, February 6, 2014, Student Union
Join the Black Women’s Collective and Mujeres Unidas for an intimate, poignant and humorous night of original poetry and prose from the Mills College Black and Latin@ community. Performers will explore their personal identities and relationships to the body through creative pieces. Members of the Black Women’s Collective will perform selected pieces from Sharon McGhee’s “Pocketbook Monologues.” Hailed by many as “The Vagina Monologues with Soul,” The Pocketbook Monologues raises the curtain to talk about the “pocketbook,”—“the label black women affectionately use to describe the triangle between their thighs.” In addition, members of Mujeres Unidas will perform excerpts from The Panza Monologues. Based on a collection of writing by Chicanas edited by Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga, The Panza Monologues boldly places the panza–tú sabes-that roll of belly we all try to hide–front and center as a symbol that reveals the lurking truths about women's thoughts, lives, loves, abuses, and lived conditions. The Student Union will be transformed into a poetry lounge with coffee, tea, and light pastries. You won’t want to miss this event.

Co-hosted by Black Women's Collective and Mujeres Unidas.

Black Success Conference
9:00am-2:00pm, Friday, February 7, 2014, Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business 101
symbolMills College’s first “Black Success” Conference is designed for graduate, undergraduate, junior college and high school students who identify as Black. Our mission is to promote academic and professional development, growth, and success. The conference presents learning opportunities ranging from academic success and career development to the keys to financial freedom. The conference is designed to give students and future professionals the tools they need to thrive at college, in rewarding careers and in life. This year’s planning committee takes pride in putting together a program that provides expert assistance, strategies, and programs that address the issues pertinent to every level of career and professional development. Our motto is "I RISE, YOU RISE, WE RISE!"

Our speakers include:
Ariana Proehl, Social Entrepreneur, Creator, Producer and Host, Know This! with Ariana, The Anatomy of a Financial Dream. Why are some dreams fulfilled and others not? Why are some of us propelled by our dreams and some of us run away from them as fast as we can? What role does money, and our relationship to it, play in all that? The Anatomy of a Financial Dream is an interactive conversation that combines personal storytelling and self-empowerment principles with financial expertise to explore how to construct our dreams—and at the root, construct visions of ourselves—in ways that are healthy and wealthy.

Ariana’s journey to build a healthy relationship with money while living her passion has been ongoing, and let's say, "eventful." From battling student loan and credit card debt to confronting self-esteem issues when marketing and fundraising for her business, her journey is an example of how perceptions of our personal self worth often get reflected in the realities of our financial worth. A speaker at colleges and universities currently on The Dream Variations Tour that explores the anatomy of dream fulfillment from both the personal and political angles, Ariana is excited to partner with financial expert and coach, Chanda Jones, to dive deeper into that anatomy by looking at the particular role money and finances play

A Bay Area native who now calls New York City home, she is the former Executive Director of youth leadership organization DiversityWorks and holds a Master of Public Administration from NYU. Since creating Know This! TV in 2011, she has toured the country and interviewed such figures as Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding, television journalist Soledad O'Brien, actresses Rosario Dawson and Yaya Alafia, Awkward Black Girl creator Issa Rae, and Dr. Cornel West. Named one of the Women's Media Center's "Progressive Women's Voices" of 2011, Ariana empowers the next generation to make change in themselves and in the world. You can learn more about Ariana here: and follow her Twitter-isms @ArianaKSS.

Chanda Jones, MBA, Finance Coach, “Personal Trainer for Your Wallet.” As a Personal Trainer for your wallet, Chanda believes money should be a source of empowerment and that everyone is entitled to financial well-being. Chanda helps women transform their relationship with money through programs she has designed such as Mindful Money, The Spending Detox, and Financial Clarity. Her mission is to help women achieve financial freedom. Through the Financial Wellness Center, Chanda develops curriculum and teaches financial education to young adults and low-income communities across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Madelynn Mackie is a career activation and job navigation expert. She is a passionate motivator who believes everyone can be engaged in a career they love as long as they are outfitted with the right tools. A big dreamer as well as a big do-er, Madelyn draws on her experience of successfully navigating three high-profile careers to provide the expert advice, encouragement, and step-by-step action plans you need to activate your career dreams. Driven by her childhood aspiration to be a superhero and use her talents, skills, and unique gifts to change the world, Madelyn launched her first career in biochemistry and became a published researcher in the field. She later transformed her passion for performance into a second career in theater, during which she worked at four Tony Award-winning theaters including Chicago’s Goodman Theater and the Berkeley Repertory Theater.

Madelyn continues her quest to better the world in her most recent post as an officer at the American Red Cross. As founder, owner, and Chief Career Activator, Madelyn shares inside knowledge on how to set yourself apart and highlight your strengths, abilities and special talents in today’s competitive environment. Leveraging her extensive experience and success, Madelyn empowers individuals to revive outdated resumes, showcase their strengths and experience in interviews, and make their career dreams a reality.

Registration Necessary

Filmmaker Marion Bethel and Film Screening Freedom, Womanish Ways and Democracy: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Bahamas: 1948-1962
7:00 pm, Monday, February 10, 2014, Danforth Auditorium
Suffrage Movement DVD coverNovember 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the suffrage movement in the Bahamas. This documentary narrates the story of the women's suffrage movement of the 1950s while paying homage to the five women who were central to the movement: Mary Ingraham, Mable Walker, Eugenia Lockhart, Georgiana Symonette and Dame Dr. Doris Johnson. The film will also explore the lives of the women activists who stood shoulder to shoulder with these leaders, the women who voted for the first time on November 26, 1962, the men who supported the suffrage for women in the halls of Parliament and the international women's organizations (USA, British, Canadian, and Caribbean) that supported the women's suffrage in the Bahamas.

Ultimately the film teaches us about the critical importance of the legacy of the suffrage movement for women and the entire community in the Bahamas, as well as those who care about social justice internationally. At a time of voter suppression in the US, this documentary is a timely reminder of the need for continued vigilance and activism to guarantee the vote for black women and all marginalized communities.

The film will be followed by a discussion on women's activism and the vote in the Bahamas and the US, with filmmaker Marion Bethel and Patricia Powell, Professor of English at Mills College and author of numerous books including A Small Gathering of Bones, The Pagoda and The Fullness of Everything.

Marion Bethel was born and lives in Nassau, The Marion BethelBahamas. She read law at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England and has worked as an attorney since 1986. Her writing includes poetry, short stories and essays. Her work has appeared in Junction, an anthology of Bahamian prose and poetry, Lignum Vitae, a journal of the Bahamas Writers’ Association, From The Shallow Seas, an anthology of Bahamian prose and poetry published by Casa de Las Americas, Habana, Cuba (1993), The Massachusetts Review, Autumn-Winter (1994), The Caribbean Writer, Volume 8 (1994) and Moving Beyond Boundaries, Volume 1, Pluto Press (1995). Her work has been accepted for publication in the following literary journals: Callaloo, River City, Poui, MaComere, The Hampden Sidney Poetry Review, Thamyris and BIM. She edited a special section of The Caribbean Writer Vol. 13, 1999 called Poetry from the Bahamas. This section was nominated for the Puschcart Prize.

Ms Bethel was awarded a James Michener Fellowship by the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute in the Department of English of the University of Miami, Florida in July 1991 and the Casa de las Americas Prize for a volume of poetry called Guanahani, My Love which was published in a bilingual edition (Spanish/English) in 1995. From September 1997 to August 1998 she was the Alice Proskauer Poetry Fellow at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University. In October and December 2006 she was a guest writer at the International Writers Workshop at the Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong.

Ms. Bethel’s book, Guanahani, My Love, was re-published in March 2009 by House of Nehesi Publishers St.Martin, Caribbean. Her new poetry collection, Bougainvillea Ringplay, will be published in August 2009 by Peepal Tree Press, Leeds, England. She is now working on a third manuscript of poetry. In addition, Ms. Bethel is completing a documentary on the women’s suffrage movement in the Bahamas.

Co-sponsored by the Ethnic Studies Department, English Department, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Sociology Department, and Public Policy Program.

Black History Month Dinner
5:00-7:00 pm, Wednesday, February 12, 2014, Founders Hall
Come and enjoy the mouth watering southern dishes hand selected by the Black Women's Collective. Entertainment will be by the Ginga Mundo Capoeira of Oakland.

The delicious menu includes:

Gumbo Soup “vegan”

Mixed Green Salad with 1000 Island or Ranch Dressing
Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Creamy Potato Salad

Shrimp Jambalaya
BBQ Pork Ribs
Fried Chicken
Creole Succotash with Seitan and Rice “vegan”
Tofu Jambalaya

Side Dishes:
Macaroni and Cheese
Candied Yams with Mini Marshmallows
Green Bean Casserole
Collard Greens “vegan”


Sweet Potato Pie
Peach Cobbler
Seven up Cake

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Black History Month Dinner is sponsored by Bon Appetit. Free to students with meal plan and $10.50 for all others.

Black and... Exploring the Intersections
7:00 pm, Wednesday, February 12, 2014, Faculty Staff Lounge
Black and... Exploring the Intersections is a panel discussion about the ways in which blackness intersects with other identities and experiences, including race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion. Mills College community members will talk about the multiplicity of their Black identities. We invite you to celebrate with us as the panelists explore intersections of being Black and female, Black and queer, Black and religious, Black and gender queer, and Black and multi-racial.

Panelist include:
Arianna Cruz-Sellu is a sophomore at Mills. She is the President and Co-Founder of In Living Queer as well as the Secretary of the Black Women's Collective. Arianna identifies as an Afro-Latina and as multiracial. Her mother is Sierra Leonean and her father is Puerto Rican. She is very passionate about the intersectionalities that come from being a queer person of color specifically one who is having the Black experience in the United States. Arianna is very excited to discuss the ways in which her intersectioning identities manifest in her life ad the lives of those around her.

Ethea Farahkhan is a senior at Mills and will graduate in May 2014. She 64 years young, and an ethnic studies major. Ethea grew up in a segregated setting in Houston, Texas. After leaving the government job market in 2010 she created a business and is now an entrepreneur. She has been a practicing Muslim since 1973 and manages to balance school, being a mother, grandmother, and running her business, African Waistbeads by Ethea. She is passionate about non-voting rights in disenfranchised communities of color and sentencing disparities on the state and federal level pertaining to African Americans.

Shanna Hullaby is a third wave feminist punk rock priestess who was raised in the rural south by a military family. She is working on her BA in English with a focus on Creative Writing at Mills College, is starting work as a Secondary English Teacher in the fall. She will also be attending Johns Hopkins University, where she will be acquiring her master’s degree in Secondary Education.

Elliott Jones is a 26 year old grad student here at Mills College. She is currently in the program teachers for tomorrow’s schools. Elliot celebrates all of the intersectionalities of her identity, including identifying as a queer mixed race woman. She is passionate about gender equity, empowering youth along with immigration, food justice and combating racism and capitalism.

Alexandra Shepperd is a junior studying Sociology and Book Art, but her passions and interests reach beyond. Raised by a Black father and White/Pakistani mother in a Southern California home, along with her three siblings, Alexandra has had the opportunity to be exposed to many perspectives in life that influence and impact her daily. After graduating from Mills College in the spring of 2015, she hopes to pursue a career in the arts where she can continue to gain knowledge from others and grow from her experiences.

Refreshments will be provided.

Black Faculty and Staff Appreciation Dinner (Invitation only)
5:30 pm, Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Reinhardt Alumnae House

fac-staff gatheringThe Black Faculty and Staff Appreciation Dinner honors and celebrates the trailblazing efforts and empowered spirits of the Black Faculty and Staff who enrich the Mills College Community. The dinner is an opportunity for the women of the Black Women’s Collective to meet Black faculty and staff and establish relationships that will enhance their Mills experience. The Faculty and Staff are treated with dinner, in addition to being honored with certificates. Come and enjoy an evening of new introductions, delicious food, great company and a willingness to expand your concept of what black is.

Continuing the theme of intersections and cultural expansion of what it means to be black, this year’s dinner will be catered by a local bay area restaurant, Sweet Fingers. Sweet Fingers offers a variety of delicious authentic Jamaican food.

Creative Expressions of Faith and Identity
7:00 pm, Thursday, February 20, 2014, Mills Chapel
Come participate in a night filled with music, spoken word performance and meditation. Creative Expressions of Faith and Identity will showcase the intersections and connections between our diverse understandings of spirituality, religion, and race.

Nationally known faith leader and social activist Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder is founder and senior pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ located in Oakland. She formed Rev. Dr. Yvette FlunderCity of Refuge in order to unite a gospel ministry with a social ministry that celebrated the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ with roots in the Church of God in Christ, Flunder was consecrated Presiding Bishop of the Fellowship in 2003, a multi-denominational fellowship of primarily African American Christian leaders and laity representing churches and faith-based organizations in the United States, Mexico and the African continent. She has also performed and recorded gospel music with Walter Hawkins and the Family, the Love Center Choir, the City of Refuge Praise Ensemble, and the Grammy Award winning Chanticleer. Bishop Flunder earned her Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo and has recieved many awards for her work in the HIV/AIDS epidemic as well as with elderly and youth.

Heaven Walker is a High Priestess of the Come As You Are Coven, and the founder of the Grove of Artemis women's full moon circle. She is also a legally ordained interfaith minister who offers professional tarot card readings, spiritual counseling, pagan and interfaith wedding ceremonies, and rites of passage. However, Heaven considers her most sacred work to be motherhood and she is the leader of the “Sprouts” pagan parenting group. She plans to eventually create a pagan centered earth conscious, children's scouting troop.

Co-sponsored by the Black Women's Collective, Etnnic Studies Department, Religious Studies Program, the Social Justice Resource Center, and Spiritual and Religious Life.

The Art of Living Black—Open Studios Art Fair
11:00-5:00, Saturday and Sunday, February 22 and 23, 2014, Student Union
Part of "The Art Of Living Black", Bay Area Black Artists Exhibition and Art Tour 2014, sponsored by the Richmond Art Center.

Conjure Featuring 15 Bay Area artists of African descent, including our very own Mills Professor Ajuan Mance’s acrylic paintings! Artists represent a wide range of visual media, including: found object sculpture and collage, painting, fired clay and ceramic sculpture, jewelry making, doll making, photography, and more.

For more information:

Self Guided Art Tour Weekend: Individual Studio Spaces in the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Martinez, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, San Jose, San Leandro, San Mateo and Vallejo. For information on all venues, The Art of Living Black 2014 Art Tour Directories are available at The Richmond Art Center, 510.620.2772.

Fashion Show: Black Women's Collection From Africa to Oakland
7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Student Union
Join the Black Women's Collective (BWC) for a celebration of Africa and the African diaspora through fashion. The fashion show will feature clothing that represents the diverse black heritage of Mills students, modeled by members of the Mills community. Arianna Cruz-Sellu, BWC secretary and our MC for the night, will describe the many different cultures featured in the show as the models make their way down the runway. The show will culminate with Oakland fashion, courtesy of small, local black businesses. Taylrz Joynt Boutique will provide clothing for the models which will be available for sale.

Forty Years Strong: Dimensions Dance Theater
7:00 pm, Friday, February 28, 2014, Lisser Theater
Ticket Information
Dimensions DanceDimensions Dance Theater, the Bay Area’s preeminent African-American dance company, proudly presents “Forty Years Strong”. This momentous occasion will celebrate Dimensions’ rich cultural history of over four decades of creativity and community-building, during which the company has premiered more than 50 evening-length works, many created by company Co-Founder and Artistic Director and Mills alumna Deborah Vaughan, and others by distinguished guest choreographers.

The Mills performance will showcase a range of the company’s work including excerpts from My People (1973), choreographed by Co-Founder Elendar Barnes; Yesterday/ Yesternow (1983), choreographed by Garth Fagan; Isicathulo and Amatshe / (Can and Boot) (1988), choreographed by Dingani Lelokoane; Resilience (2000) a segment of Between Shores/Stream of Legacies with jazz pianist Omar Sosa and Zimbabwean mbira artist Stella Chiweshe, choreographed by Deborah Vaughan.

The performance will also feature segments of work from Hervé Makaya’s “Vukana” (Congo) and Latanya Tigner’s “St. Ann and N. Rampart and The Last Dance” (New Orleans). Both pieces are part of the larger work, Rhythms of Life: Down the Congo Line (2012). This segment of the performance will highlight traditional Congolese dance forms and its evolution in New Orleans; moreover, this presentation will include MJ’s Brass Boppers (New Orleans brass band) and Bay Area drummer, Kiazi Malonga.

Members of the audience will have an opportunity to participate in the program and there will be a brief Q & A at the program’s conclusion.

About Dimensions Dance Theater
For four decades under the leadership of Co-Founder and Artistic Director Deborah Vaughan, Dimensions Dance Theater has dedicated itself to creating, performing, and teaching dance that reflects the lives and historical experience of African Americans. Under Vaughan’s artistic leadership, Dimensions Dance Theater presents traditional African dances, as well as original contemporary choreography drawn from African, Jazz, and Modern dance idioms. Its repertory includes original works by its award-winning artistic director along with commissioned works by some of the most acclaimed choreographers in Africa and the African diaspora.

Dimensions has a unique connection to Mills College. Co-founders Shirley Brown, Elendar Barnes and Deborah Vaughan are graduates of the College's Dance Program, and were encouraged by Ruth Beckford, a protégé of Katherine Dunham to establish a company that would preserve, perpetuate and perform dances from the African Diaspora.

Dimensions has garnered national and international acclaim for its performances. In 1984 Dimensions was chosen to perform at the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival, and in 1988 the company appeared in the first National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. Then in 1995 Dimensions performed in the Forum for Contemporary Dance/Dance for Tolerance Festival in Bonn, Germany. The company has traveled to the Congo, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Jordan, and Cuba. Dimensions also tours regularly throughout California and the U.S.

Dimensions Dance Theater presents an annual Home Season in Oakland and San Francisco, and since 1993 the company has spearheaded Rites of Passage, an educational program serving more than 850 children and youth each year. Rites of Passage has been recognized with a Marcus Foster Foundation Award and the Jefferson Award, known as the “Nobel Prize for public service”. Dimensions Dance Theater has a vital legacy as one of the most long-lived and fruitful products of Bay Area Dance.

For more information.

Black History Film Premier and Book Launch: "Unearthing the Dream" and "Proud Legacy: The "Colored" Schools of Malvern, Arkansas and the Community that Made Them"
7:00 pm, Thursday, March 6, 2014, Danforth Auditorium
Malvern Legacy ProjectA multi-city tour of the new documentary Unearthing the Dream comes to Oakland with a film and book launch event sponsored by the Mills College Black Women's Collective and the Mills College Ethnic Studies department. Named best documentary at this year's Arkansas Black Independent Film Festival, Unearthing the Dream highlights the history of a small Black African American community and the Black schools that existed before integration.

Created as part of the Henson Benson Foundation's Malvern Legacy Project, an initiative developed to preserve the history of Malvern, a uniquely prosperous and racially tolerant Arkansas community, Unearthing the Dream was produced in concert with Proud Legacy: The "Colored" Schools of Malvern, Arkansas and the Community that Made Them. Proud Legacy tells the story of Malvern's segregated Black schools, from the earliest presence of Black people in the Malvern, Arkansas region to 1968, when the town first integrated its public schools.

Following the screening of the film, filmmaker Pam Uzzell and book author Ajuan Mance will discuss the Malvern Legacy Project and their involvement in this unique public history initiative.

All events are free and open to the public unless noted.

Events are co-sponsored by Ethnic Studies Department, Black Women's Collective, English Department, Dance Department, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Religious Studies Program, History Department, Sociology Department, Public Policy Department, Spiritual and Religious Life, Associated Students of Mills College, Office of Student Activities, Social Justice Resource Center, Association Alums of Mills, Educational Outreach Committee, and Alums of Color Committee.

Mills College Heritage Months are supported in part by the Ethnic Studies Fund. To learn about and donate to the Fund, please click here: Ethnic Studies Fund. Many thanks for your generosity in support of Ethnic Studies and students of color at Mills.

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Last Updated: 2/19/14