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Black History Month 365

BHM365 provides year-round programming with a special emphasis during Black History Month (BHM). Programming in 2020 is sponsored by several groups, including the Black Students Collective (BSC), Black MBA Students Association, the Ethnic Studies Program in the Department of Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, the Black Faculty and Staff Association, Alumnae of Color, We Are the Voices, and the Associated Students of Mills College.

March 12-13, 2020: The Symposium Celebrating Black Womxn Excellence

The production of the “Mills Girl” image as an engaged citizen-woman working toward social justice in (t)he(i)r communities has arguably become part of the branding of the Mills College Girl. As we dig into the history of campus activism here at Mills, we acknowledge it is undoubtedly linked to the movement(s) throughout the US academic landscape and the calls for the establishment of Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, Native American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Women’s Studies. Join us for this two-day symposium on the ongoing conversation about how the common experiences of Black women too often reveal the ways in which her/our Black bodies are policed in society in order to discipline the very righteous anger that comes of struggle.

Day One: The Black Campus Movement at Mills College
Dr. Lauren Araiza, Associate Professor and Department of History Chair, Denison University
March 12, 2020
7:30 pm
Student Union
Free tickets on Facebook

In her article, Dr. Araiza examines the rise and impact of the Black campus movement at Mills. Founded in 1852 for the daughters of western industrialists, Mills actively promoted an image of its elite students as refined, intelligent, and ladylike—“the Mills girl.” Administrators historically had discouraged the students from political engagement and activism because they considered these activities to be unfeminine and believed that they would jeopardize students’ prospects for marriage and motherhood. These ideals were challenged in 1968-1969 when the newly formed Black Student Union employed direct action protest strategies that led to the hiring of Black faculty and staff, the increased recruitment of students of color, increased financial aid, and the establishment of one of the first departments of Ethnic Studies in the country. While the Black campus movement challenged Eurocentric curricula and racially homogenous student bodies and faculty at numerous universities, at Mills the movement also challenged gendered expectations of acceptable behavior for female students. Dr. Araiza argues that in critics’ views, what was most disturbing about the BSU’s actions was not their desire to make Mills inclusive and its curriculum relevant to Black students, but that by protesting they upended the carefully crafted and protected image of “the Mills girl.” This presentation will include a summary of her research on these topics, followed by a facilitated discussion panel led by School of Education Professor, Dr. Wanda Watson. Panelists will include Dr. Lauren Araiza (Author), Tsion McYates (BSC President), Alumnae of Color Member (tbd), Dr. Babe Kawaii-Bogue (Counseling and Psychological Services), Dr. Chinyere Oparah (Provost/Former BSC Faculty Advisor). Read Dr. Araiza’s paper.

Day Two: Angry Black Woman
Written by Artist/Activist Kathryn Seabron, Directed by Lynn Vidal
March 13, 2020
8:00 pm
Lisser Hall
Free tickets on Facebook

Angry Black Woman explores the challenges and triumphs of being an African American Woman in the United States in this day and age. Using her own experiences, being Black at Work, Kathryn Seabron explains, rants and educates about white tears, misogynoir, beauty and triumph. A performance journey through Black women experiences of discrimination, bigotry, and bias, in all its forms, including the microaggressions that come on a daily basis. Activist and raconteur, Kathryn Seabron will perform excerpts from her one-woman show Angry Black Woman—chronicling misogyny and the patented hatred, racism, and sexism infecting the everyday lives of Black women. Kathryn Seabron is a writer, director, producer, activist and burlesque performer.

All Mills Community invited to attend these FREE events. For questions contact BSCExecutives@mills.edu.

The 2 Day Symposium Celebrating Black Womxn Excellence is a part of Women’s History Month at Mills College and is co-sponsored by the Black Student Collective, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Alumnae of Color, School of Education, Ethnic Studies and Associated Students of Mills College.

Black History Month February 2020: Connecting Your Roots

In 2020 we have hosted a number of engaging, educational, fun, community-building events including:

Black History Month Library Display
February 1–28, 2020
Mills Library

The BHM display at the F. W. Olin library represents Black authors and trailblazers who have made their mark on the literary community nationally and globally with their works, activism, and scholarship.

BHM Kickoff: Connecting Your Roots
6:00 pm–8:00 pm, Wednesday, February 5, 2020
GSB 101
The kick-off launches Black History Month events as we indulge in a night filled with community engagement, music, food, and celebration for faculty, staff, and students. This soulful event will include an opening celebration with drumming, music, and an interactive dance segment by Latanya Tigner.

Tigner’s work looks beyond the African aesthetic traditions in hip hop and names specific potential origins of hip hop dance’s vernacular. The revealing of this information makes concrete the lineage of hip hop/freestyle/party dances, which continue to emerge from African American communities. Nothing is ever new, especially in dance; dances/steps within forms re-emerge, re-visioned with new rhythmic structures, movement qualities, attitudes and intentions based on the geographical regions, lived experiences and needs of the generation responsible for their perpetuation/revival. Participants will experience how different traditional dances of the Mande, Luba, and Mongo people of west and central Africa track throughout the diaspora and show up again and again in African American dance, hip hop/freestyle specifically, as a means of rejuvenation, evidence of resilience, acts of resistance, and roads to revelation.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Celebration
11:30 am–1:30 pm, Thursday, February 6, 2020
Adams Plaza
The Center for Leadership, Equity, and Excellence presents a celebration showcasing the reading of portions of the Reverend Dr. King’s speeches. Come to read, listen, and add a reflection to the community collage. Sign up to read.

MLK Day of Service
9:00 am–12:00 pm, Saturday, February 8, 2020
East Oakland Pride Elementary School
Mills community is partnering with our neighbors, East Oakland Pride, to clean up and beautify their elementary school campus. Clean up supplies and lunch will be provided for volunteers. For more information and to sign up visit Day of Service 2020.

Black Business Social
1:00 pm–5:00 pm, Saturday, February 8, 2020
GSB 101

This social will feature 10+ black small business owners and their products, food, music, and free-give-aways. Our guests will share their “business stories,” featuring their successes and struggles. Open to the public.

PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools—Film and Panel Discussion with Director Monique Morris
5:30 pm–9:00 pm, Saturday, February 8, 2020
Lisser Hall

Join Mills College School of Education for its culminating Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action event: a screening of PUSHOUT and townhall panel discussion moderated by Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey, with opening remarks by Director, Dr. Monique Morris.

The precarity of Black girls' lives in school have been made visible by Dr. Monique Morris. Through her writing, advocacy, and now film, PUSHOUT, we now have the language to describe and understand what we see happening to Black girls in schools. Morris' work has inspired debate and legislation with the recent sponsoring of the Ending Punitive, Unfair, School-based Harm that is Overt and Unresponsive to Trauma (PUSHOUT) Act,” by representatives Ayanna Pressley (D- MA), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). The law identifies the many students made vulnerable by race, gender, and disability positionality and outlines resources and policy recommendations to secure educational spaces for children.

Dr. Morris is an author and social justice scholar whose work focuses on education, civil rights, and social justice. She is the author of Sing A Rhythm, Dance A Blues and Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. Dr. Morris has written articles, book chapters, and other publications on social justice issues and lectured widely on research, policies, and practices associated with improving juvenile justice, educational, and socioeconomic conditions for black girls, women, and their families. She is the Founder and President of the National Black Women's Justice Institute (NBWJI).

Visit Eventbrite for tickets.

Black History Month Dinner
5:00 pm–7:30 pm, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Founders Commons
All are welcome to attend and connect with fellow students, Mills alumni, faculty, staff, and community members. There will be good food, music, and fellowship!

Black Staff & Faculty Appreciation Lunch
12:00 pm–1:00 pm, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Reinhardt Alumnae House
The members of the Black Student Collective would like to honor the hard work and efforts of the dedicated Black faculty and staff at Mills through this luncheon. Please come and receive a token of our appreciation for all the work you do for our community and specifically to support student success!

Daughters of the Dust
Directed by Julie Dash—Film Showing and Discussion with Ife Tayo-Walker

6:30 pm–9:00 pm, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Mills Hall Living Room

At the dawn of the 20th century, a family in the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina—former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors' Yoruba traditions—suffers a generational split. Young Haagar (Kaycee Moore) wants to move to the mainland away from tradition-bound matriarch Nana (Cora Lee Day). Former prostitute Yellow Mary (Barbara-O) gets a cold shoulder when she returns to the island with her female lover, especially from her sister Viola (Cheryl Lynn Bruce).

Black to the Future: Blackness, Space, and Power in Changing Times
Alicia Garza and Brandi Thompson Summers in Conversation

7:00 pm–8:30 pm, Thursday, February 20, 2020
Lisser Hall

We Are the Voices We've Been Waiting For
is pleased to welcome Alicia Garza and Brandi Thompson Summers for a discussion on race, space, and power.

Alicia Garza, activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matters social movement, is an Oakland-based organizer, writer, public speaker, and freedom dreamer. She is currently the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States. Garza, along with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Khan-Cullors, co-founded Black Lives Matter, a globally recognized organizing project that focuses on combating anti-Black state-sanctioned violence and the oppression of all Black people. Since the rise of the BLM movement, Garza has become a powerful voice in the media. Her articles and interviews have been featured in Time, Mic, The Guardian, Elle.com, Essence, Democracy Now!, and The New York Times.

In addition, her work has received numerous recognitions, including being named on The Root's 2016 list of 100 African American achievers and influencers, the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year Award, the 2016 Marie Claire New Guard Award, and as a Community Change Agent at the 2016 BET's Black Girls Rock Awards.

Most important, as a queer Black woman, Garza's leadership and work challenge the misconception that only cisgender Black men encounter police and state violence. While the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were catalysts for the emergence of the BLM movement, Garza is clear: In order to truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of violence is in Black America, we must view this epidemic through a lens of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Dr. Brandi Thompson Summers, is an academic researcher and professor of geographies of African American life at the University of California, Berkeley. Their research engages theoretical themes that cut across multiple domains of social life. Their epistemological and methodological insights draw from cultural and urban geography, urban sociology, African American studies, and media studies by examining the cultural, political, and economic dynamics by which race and space are reimagined and reordered.

Nicodemus, Kansas, the Roots of My Tree: An Interactive Lecture Presentation by Dr. Ashley Adams
6:30 pm–8:00 pm, Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Mills Hall Living Room
Nicodemus, Kansas was an all-black town founded in 1877, with the hope of establishing a place where formerly enslaved African Americans could thrive and share their allotment of the great American dream. Due to its homesteading opportunities for former slaves, Kansas was nicknamed “the Promised Land.” Nicodemus, Kansas was designated a National Historic Site in 1996. This interactive audio-visual presentation will include historical accounts of some early Nicodemus settlers, all of whom are ancestors of Dr. Adams. The relevance of their stories for understanding the black experience in current times and the personal value in exploring one’s roots will also be discussed.

Kev Choice in Concert
8:00 pm–10:00 pm, Saturday, February 28, 2020
Lisser Hall

Mills Alumnae of Color Committee (AOCC) of the AAMC proudly presents this celebratory concert for Black Heritage Month 2020. This is a fundraiser for the Endowed Scholarship in honor of Alecia A. DeCoudreaux Concert Fundraiser. Our concert will feature Kev Choice with opening act, The Lucy Kinchen Chorale. Tickets will be sold on Eventbrite.

For more information about BHM 2020 programs or to request accommodations, please contact zzamora@mills.edu.