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Home > Academics > Undergraduate >
Ethnic Studies

Black History Month

Theme: “Healing Justice”
Healing justice is a framework that identifies holistic responses to intergenerational trauma and violence and generates collective practices to transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds.

Black History Month Photo Display
Toyon Meadow, Month of February
The timeline will consist of different opportunities to heal your body and mind. On each stake there will be an activity that promotes a healthy practice as well as information on local businesses that offer that particular service. On the opposite side of the stake there will be an image representing health (i.e. a heart) and a vow from each member of the collective stating what they will do to maintain a healthy and just lifestyle.

Black History Month Kick Off
12:15 pm, Monday, February 2, 2015, 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.

Black Lives Matter: Honoring Black Victims of Police Brutality
12:15 pm, Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Suzanne Adams Plaza
This will be a silent event with photos that will hang in the tea shop for the remainder of the month. There will be a visual to honor the lives lost to police brutality as well as statistics and information on dealing with state-sanctioned violence.

Decolonizing Your Diet
7:00-9:00 pm, Thursday, February 5, 2015, Student Union
This event will focus on the importance of local food and the significance of knowing your food and your body. Tamearra Dyson the head chef of Souley Vegan will be speaking on transforming our diets from their unhealthy states to more healthy alternatives without losing cultural relevance. Local farmers from West Oakland will come and share their knowledge about healthful food, and how food can serve as medicine. This workshop will feature interactive components that show people how best to shop, and where to shop to support local black businesses.

Tamearra Dyson has been vegan since age 16, so when she’s asked for substitutions for common animal products found in soul food, she’s a little flustered. “I never used those things,” she says. “People ask, ‘How do you substitute butter?’ I don’t know.” Dyson also doesn’t use lard, sausage or any of the other meaty ingredients commonly associated with her cuisine of choice. So what does she use? She fries her cornmeal-crusted okra and crispy tofu in olive oil, uses fresh fruit to make her tonic-like drinks and she swears by fresh garlic and onion. “They make a huge difference in the taste,” she says. “Plus, they’re really healthy.”

Health was one of Dyson’s inspirations for opening her Souley Vegan cafe in downtown, where she refers to her greens as “candy.” Before she started her business, she worked in the medical field, and her family encouraged her to take her home-cooked vegan soul recipes to the streets. Dyson actually began at the Grand Lake farmers market, selling vegan cheesecake, greens, barbecue tofu and other family favorites. Dyson says she wasn’t looking for a downtown space, but her patrons were looking for a restaurant. When she stumbled across an old deli space, she took the leap and leased. “Souley Vegan moved faster than Tamearra Dyson,” she laughs.

Heal Your Hair
5:00-7:00 pm, Monday, February 9, 2015, Solidarity Lounge
African American hair texture varies from straight to extremely curly and tightly coiled. African American hair can be very delicate and prone to breakage. You can learn how to maintain healthy hair for African American hair, even without damage. Please come join us in the Heal Your Hair event that will teach you how to maintain healthy hair and provide advice on healthy hair care tips and tricks. There will be plenty of DIY activities involving organic products for hair and skin.

Black History Month Dinner and the Appreciation of our Black Faculty and Staff
5:00-7:00 pm, Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Founders Hall
Come and enjoy a delicious twist on Afro American southern soul food with a Haitian vegan twist! Entertainment will be provided by a West African Dance Company.

fac-staff gathering

The Black Faculty and Staff Appreciation Dinner honors and celebrate the trailblazing and 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. This year’s theme is about healing, so let's continue by being in community around food and good company.

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.

West African Dance Company Performance
7:00 pm, Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Founders Hall

Creative Expressions of Faith and Identity
7:00 pm, Monday, February 16, 2015, 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.

Healing from Toxic Media
4:00-6:00 pm, Wednesday, February 18, 2015, Faculty and Staff Lounge
From cultural appropriation of black culture to massive female sexualization to reality TV, Healing from Toxic Media brings discussion and reflection about popular culture’s representation of otherness. The goal here is to share our thoughts and reactions about how mainstream society sees us compared to how we see ourselves.

The Art of Living Black—Open Studios Art Fair
11:00-5:00, Saturday and Sunday, February 21 and 22, 2015, Student Union
Part of "The Art Of Living Black", Bay Area Black Artists Exhibition and Art Tour 2015, 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.

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 2015 Art Tour Directories are available at The Richmond Art Center, 510.620.2772.

Healing Justice: A Conversation
7:00 pm, Wednesday, February 25, 2015, GSB Gathering Hall 101
Join us for an intimate evening with visionary healers and spiritual warriors Reverend Zenju Earhlynn Manuel and Dr. Arisika Razak, in conversation with anti-violence activist Alisa Bierria. Healing justice is a framework that identifies holistic responses to intergenerational trauma and violence. In this conversation, we ask what individual and collective practices can be generated to transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds.

Alisa Bierria is the Associate Director of the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley and a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Stanford University. Her dissertation explores the role of social and political recognition in human agency. She is the recipient of the Diane J. Middlebrook Prize for Graduate Teaching and has years of experience writing, teaching, and organizing on issues of violence and redress. Other research interests include black existentialism, feminist of color theory, speculative theory of the body, and popular culture. She is co-editor of Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence, a special issue of Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, and World Order. Her writing can also be found in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy; Journal of Popular Music Studies; Left Turn Magazine; Shout Out: Women of Color Respond To Violence; What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race, and the State of the Nation; The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond The Non-Profit Industrial Complex; Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology; Real Change Newspaper; ColorsNW Magazine; and University of Minnesota: Assembling the Pieces.

Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, author, visual artist, drummer, and Zen Buddhist priest, is the guiding teacher of Still Breathing Zen Community in East Oakland, CA. She was raised with two sisters in Los Angeles after her parents migrated there from Creole Louisiana. She is the author of The Way of Tenderness and Tell Me Something About Buddhism and contributing author to many books, including Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color and The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. She lives in Oakland, CA.

Black History Month Dance
9:00 pm-1:00 am, Friday, February 27, 2015, Student Union
The Black Women’s Collective presents their annual Black History Month dance. Attendees will dance the night away to the latest grooves and beats!

Pocketbook Monologues
7:00 pm, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, Student Union
Join the Black Women’s Collective for an intimate, poignant and humorous night of original poetry and prose from the Mills College Black 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.” The Student Union will be transformed into a poetry lounge with coffee, tea, and light pastries. After the Pocketbook Monologues are shared there will be an opportunity for community members to share their personal pieces and narratives. You won’t want to miss this event!

Events are co-sponsored by Ethnic Studies Department, Black Women's Collective, Associated Students of Mills College, Office of Student Activities, and the Diversity and Social Justice Resource Center.

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: 1/22/15