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Co-Founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement Opal Tometi to Speak on Campus

Holy Cross to celebrate Black History Month with series of events
January 29th, 2016 by 

In observation of Black History Month, the College of the Holy Cross community will host a variety of discussions, film screenings, lectures, and a fashion show, planned by a range of academic departments, offices, and student organizations across campus.

Opal Tometi, a Nigerian-American writer, strategist, community organizer, and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, will speak to the Holy Cross community on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Hogan Ballroom.  The event, sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU), Campus Activities Board (CAB) and diversity and inclusion office, is free and open to the public.

Tometi’s talk, titled “#Black Lives Matter,” will take a look at the current issues facing the movement. A dedicated activist working at the intersection of racial justice and immigrant rights for more than a decade, Tometi started the Twitter hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, (with Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors), which prompted activism nationwide.

In addition to the Black Lives Matter movement, Tometi is the executive director at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), where she is at the helm of the country’s leading black organization for immigrant rights, steering initiatives including the first Congressional briefing on black immigrants. She has also presented at the United Nations and has participated with the UN’s Global Forum on Migration and Commission on the Status of Women.

Tometi’s passionate interest stems from experience as the child of Nigerian immigrants. She was named a “New Civil Rights Leader” by the Los Angeles Times for her work building movements that bridge immigrant and human rights initiatives to the ever-growing black liberation movement. In 2015, Tometi and her fellow Black Lives Matter co-founders were included on The Root’s Top 100 List for the movement’s social and political impact.

All Black History Month events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Harvard Fellow to Give Talk on the Black Power Movement and American Social Work
Feb. 4 at 4:30 p.m., Levis Browsing Room

Joyce M. Bell, fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, will present research from her book, “The Black Power Movement and American Social Work” (Columbia University Press, 2014). She will discuss the impact the Black Power movement had on the profession of social work.

Sponsored by Africana studies, the history department, and the sociology and anthropology department.

Black History 101 Mobile Museum
Feb. 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Hogan 401-403

The Black History 101 Mobile Museum is an innovative traveling table top exhibit depicting Black memorabilia spanning slavery to Hip Hop. The mobile museum presents historical artifacts to schools systems, communities, colleges and universities throughout the nation. The museum has more than 5,000 rare treasures among its collection, including original documents from historic Black figures whose contributions helped shape the U.S.  Artifacts in this mobile collection represent items from the categories of slavery, Jim Crow era, music, sports, the Civil Rights and Black Power era, and popular culture.

Sponsored by the multicultural education office, Latin American and Latino studies, peace and conflict studies, Africana studies, and the Multicultural Peer Educators.

A Huey P. Newton Story (2001)
Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Seelos Theater

Adapted from acclaimed actor Roger Guenveur Smith’s Obie-award winning play of the same name, this film explores the controversial life and times of the co-founder of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Huey P. Newton. Smith draws from Newton’s unpublished manuscripts, recorded interviews, and correspondence, to bring passion and authenticity to this powerful film.  There will be a post-screening question and answer session with Smith and Scott Malia, assistant professor of theatre.

Sponsored by Arts Transcending Borders.

Roger Guenveur Smith’s “Rodney King”
Feb. 23, 7 p.m., Seelos Theater

Roger Guenveur Smith presents “Rodney King.” This powerful performance combines history, poetry, and tragedy as Smith tackles the thorny odyssey of Rodney King, a construction worker darkly deemed “the first reality TV star” when his violent beating at the hands of police in 1991 was caught on film. When the officers involved were acquitted the following year, protests turned into the deadly Los Angeles riots and King involuntarily became a martyr of police brutality. From harsh national spotlight to a lonely death at the bottom of a swimming pool, Smith offers a mediation on the flawed, yet goodhearted everyman and reveals America’s endlessly complicated relationship with its racial past and present. Smith’s monologue won a 2015 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. There will be a post-show discussion with Smith and Michael West, associate professor of history at the College, followed by a “Meet the Artist” reception.

Sponsored by Arts Transcending Borders and the diversity and inclusion office.

BSU Fashion Show
Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Mechanics Hall

The BSU presents its 18th Annual Black and Gold Fashion Show. This year’s show will explore the vibrant history of television shows featuring black actors and actresses throughout the years.  It celebrates all that has been accomplished through African-American history, and takes a look at what is to come. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in the Hogan lobby, now through February 5, or by emailing the BSU Fashion Show co-chairs:  Demetrius Wilson ’18 at dewils18@g.holycross.edu or Melanyn Rivas at mrivas18@g.holycross.edu.

Saturday Cinema Spotlight, Featuring “Selma”
Feb. 27, 9 p.m., Crossroads

Directed by Ava DuVernay, this powerful film chronicles the passionate and dangerous struggle of social activists seeking to secure equal voting rights for black Americans. Martin Luther King Jr., played by David Oyelowo, leads the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965, making history.

Sponsored by the student involvement office.

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