Fordham Holds Special Programs for Black History Month

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Fordham Holds Special Programs for Black History Month

Students gather at the being Black at Fordham Panel hosted by ASILI. (Courtesy of Juan Carlos Matos)

Students gather at the being Black at Fordham Panel hosted by ASILI. (Courtesy of Juan Carlos Matos)

Students gather at the being Black at Fordham Panel hosted by ASILI. (Courtesy of Juan Carlos Matos)

Students gather at the being Black at Fordham Panel hosted by ASILI. (Courtesy of Juan Carlos Matos)

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By Sarah Huffman

This month at Fordham University, multiple departments and student groups are holding special events to celebrate Black History Month.

The department of African and African American studies is holding their annual Black History Month lecture on Friday, Feb. 15. The department is working with a theme of building scholarship through activism. This year’s speaker is Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Ph.D.

Laurie Lambert, a professor in the African and African American studies department, said her department had been interested in booking Dr. Gilmore for over a year now. Lambert said she is both a scholar and an activist, and she exemplifies how academic work can help bring about structural change.

“One of the cornerstones of her work is the idea of prisons as geography, locating the problems in geography rather than dealing with social and political issues,” said Lambert. “She’ll be speaking on what abolition geography is and where her research is pointing to next.”

She said that this is an opportunity for people to learn about what prison abolition is and to think about how they have accepted certain institutions like the prison system; it is an opportunity to ask questions about why we have accepted this system, if it is working the way it should be and how we can change it.

She said that the department hopes people will learn how structural change is being produced both by academics and activists.

“These events are important every month of the year,” said Lambert. “These issues are with us everyday. For me, black history month is important because it gives an extra bit of attention to some of these problems and questions.”

Mark Naison, Ph.D., a professor of history and African American studies here at Fordham, said the Fordham Alumni Association is organizing a trip to Louis Armstrong’s house in Corona. Naison said that he has been asked to speak about Louis Armstrong’s historical significance at the event.

“Getting a chance to spend a couple of hours talking about [race] in an academic environment is a valuable experience,” said Naison. “What we are hopefully able to do is create a place where students can hear points of view that are important but not necessarily part of what their school, family or neighborhood would expose them to.”

He said that knowledge, communication and empathy are all goals of this kind of program.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Division of Student Affairs are holding multiple training sessions for students to join the Racial Solidarity Network. The program requires two sessions, which they will occur on, Feb. 12 and Feb. 19 at Rose Hill, as well as Feb. 13 and Feb. 20 at Lincoln Center.

Juan Carlos Matos, assistant vice president for Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said in his e-mail that this program hopes to promote a university environment where everyone feels welcome.

The program strives to “provide an opportunity for the Fordham community to increase empathy, awareness and understanding around the complexities related to race and the unique lived experiences people share as racial and ethnic beings,” he said.

Fordham Law School is hosting an alumni of distinction ceremony on Feb. 12, 2019. The ceremony will honor Ruth Whitehead Whaley, who graduated in 1924, and Eunice Carter, who graduated in 1932. They are celebrating graduates of the law school who have overcome challenges faced by underrepresented groups and made a mark on the world.

Some speakers include the Honorable Deborah Batts, Senior Judge, United States District Court of the Southern District of NY, Leah Carter, great-granddaughter of Eunice Carter, and Tanyell Cooke ’19, Student Bar Association President.

The Black Student Alliance at Fordham (ASILI) hosted the “Being Black at Fordham” Panel on Friday, Feb. 1. The panel included students, faculty and alumni who answered questions about their experiences at Fordham. The purpose of the panel was to help bridge gaps between communities.

ASILI will host “Until We All Win: A Panel discussion brought to you by Nike and ASILI” on Friday, Feb. 15. ASILI says that the purpose of this panel is to empower and elevate black athlete communities in order to create equal opportunities.