A vital part of our mission is leadership. LEADERSHIP IS MAKING CHANGE.
This month: Celebrating Black History Month
Following our Leadership is Making Change post, which was written in response to the many stories of racial inequality that plague our country, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development at Worcester State University made a vow to provide support for and education about marginalized cultures and identities. Marginalized populations are defined as “groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.” This post is the first in our series Making Change, which will feature monthly posts that share historical backgrounds, educational resources (to read, watch, and listen), and activism opportunities centered around a specific culture, identity, or community.
Our goal with our February post is to Celebrate Black History Month and honor the rich history, contributions and excellence of the Black Community. This Months post features upcoming events here at Worcester State Hosted by WSU’s Third World Alliance TWA. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to get involved.
We strive everyday to educate our students to be impactful campus and community leaders. Leadership begins with education. This resource list is not exhaustive, but will provide the opportunity to begin the journey of educating yourself and those around you.
Black is king
Beyoncé called her visual album with music from The Lion King: The Gift, “a labor of love.” In 2020 the singer told her Instagram followers: “It is my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year… With this visual album, I wanted to present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message, and what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy.”
One Night In Miami
A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the Civil Rights Movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.
Amanda Gorman “The Hill We Climb”
ABC News, Youtube
The nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recites “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Black History is American History
Okalani Dawkins, TEDTalk
Okalani Dawkins is a passionate Sophomore excited to create a better world through her passion for Civil Rights. In this talk, she highlights the importance of African American societies in America’s history past the Civil Rights Movement, and why we need to pay more attention to matters like those as well.
Get comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
Luvvie Ajayi, TEDTalk
Luvvie Ajayi isn’t afraid to speak her mind or to be the one dissenting voice in a crowd, and neither should you. “Your silence serves no one,” says the writer, activist and self-proclaimed professional troublemaker. In this bright, uplifting talk, Ajayi shares three questions to ask yourself if you’re teetering on the edge of speaking up or quieting down — and encourages all of us to get a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), her ambitious horn player (Chadwick Boseman), and the white management determined to control the legendary “Mother of the Blues.” Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play.
A 13-part documentaryseries exploring Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world. Each episode dives into a unique Indigenous culture to discover the tools and techniques, the symbols and traditions that shape their tattooing art. In this series, the art of tattoo becomes a lens for exploring some of the planet’s oldest cultures and their unique perspectives on life, identity and the natural world.
Amend: The Fight for America
The Naked Truth, Youtube
Will Smith’s hope with this series is to illuminate the beauty that is the promise of America and to share a message of connection and shared humanity so that we will be able to better understand and celebrate our different experiences as Americans and promote progress toward the true equality promised to all persons under the 14th Amendment. As Americans, we endeavor to form a more perfect union that truly establishes justice and equality for all. I believe a deeper understanding of the 14th Amendment is a critical jumping off point.
Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) has almost made it. Having shirked his dream to be a professional jazz musician for a more sensible career as a high school band teacher for years, he’s more than ready when a famous singer asks him to play in her band one night. When an accidental fatal fall down a manhole boots him to the Great Before, a pre-existence cosmic space, Joe must find a way back to the world of the living in time for his big gig. It’s an ambitious film from Pixar, featuring a Black lead for the first time and delving into topics about chasing your dreams, death, and the meaning of life
Hosted by Natasha McEachron, this podcast celebrates Black history all year. McEachron uses stories of pride, excellence and power from across the Black diaspora to motivate and inspire. Each episode features quotes, book reviews, movie reviews, career interviews, recommendations for places to visit and historical facts. Recent episodes include “Coretta Scott King,” “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” and “Marcus Garvey & The UNIA.”
Hosts Hana Baba and Leila Day dig into stories that are not always shared out in the open. Day and Baba provide professionally-reported stories about blackness, race and identity in America. Each episode features conversations about what it means to be Black and how to talk about blackness. Recent episodes include “Head on a Swivel,” “Connecting Black” and “From the Queen: Black is King.”
Hosted by Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby, Code Switch is one of the most popular podcasts about race and identity. Spun off from the NPR blog of the same name, Code Switch references the way people of color “subtly, reflexively change the way we express ourselves all the time,” according to Demby.
The first podcast to be entirely created and produced inside a prison, Ear Hustle was groundbreaking when it was released in 2017, and was shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize in 2020. A collaboration between Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist, and Antwan Williams, another former San Quentin resident, the podcast shares the daily realities of life inside prison, as well as the stories of life post incarceration.
Intersectionality Matters! With Kimberlé Crenshaw
Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a lawyer, civil rights activist, and law professor who developed the theory of “intersectionality,” Intersectionality Matters! is an incisive and deeply informative podcast that centers on the experiences of Black women.
Hosted by Jaison Gardner and Dr. Kaila Story, Strange Fruit is a lively and thought-provoking podcast that deftly tackles topics of race, politics, pop culture, and LGBTQ+ identity. Broadcast out of Louisville, Kentucky, the podcast is proud of its local roots, yet the discussions facilitated by Gardner and Story resonate far beyond their immediate community.
We encourage you to utilize your local library or independent bookstore. Books can also be requested through the Worcester State Library when classes are back in session. Students may be eligible to access some of the titles below with a free 2-month Kindle Unlimited trial subscription or free Audible trial.
Four Hundred Souls
by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
The story begins in 1619—a year before the Mayflower—when the White Lion disgorges “some 20-and-odd Negroes” onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history.
The Dead Are Arising
by Les Payne and Tamara Payne
This historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary. ”This groundbreaking biography about Malcolm X was started by author Les Payne, and finished by his daughter Tamara after his death.
Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter
by Shani Mahiri King
Black lives matter. That message would be self-evident in a just world, but in this world and this America, all children need to hear it again and again, and not just to hear it but to feel and know it.This book affirms the message repeatedly, tenderly, with cumulative power and shared pride. Celebrating Black accomplishments in music, art, literature, journalism, politics, law, science, medicine, entertainment, and sports, Shani King summons a magnificent historical and contemporary context for honoring the fortitude of Black role models, women and men, who have achieved greatness despite the grinding political and social constraints on Black life.
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot
by Mikki Kendall
In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.
The Vanishing Half: A Novel
by Brit Bennett
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?.
Barack Obama A Promised Land
by Barack Obama
In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency – a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.
To Act, Support, & Learn More
To Participate In TWA Events
TWA at Worcester State University are hosting the Following Events to Celebrate Black history month:
Film Screening of “Whose Streets?”
Thursday February 18th 6pm (This Event will be Virtual)
This film is a story told by activists and leaders who live and breath the movement for justice, it is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising and a powerful battle cry from a generation fighting, not for thier civil rights but the right to live. To register please email email@example.com.
BIPOC and ALANA Career Panel
Tuesday February 23rd 2:30pm (This Event will be Virtual)
Interested in transitioning from college to a career or the next step in your future? Come hear from our panelists about their careers and transitions. Panel will represent diverse fields and professions. To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cosponsored with TWA, OMA, & Career Services.
‘Ain’t I Woman?’ ‘Ain’t I Man?’- An Evening of Black Poetry and Film
Friday February 26th 6pm (This Event will be Virtual)
It will feature poetry highlighting Black History, BlackLove, the Black Struggle, and the African Diaspora. TWA (the student organization, will also premiere a short film of interviews featuring WSU students on, ‘Why is Black Lives Matter important to you?’ There will also be an open mic portion during the event. To register please email email@example.com.
28 Days of Black Greatness
In celebration of Black History Month, TWA will work with WSU Marketing Team to highlight Black Community leaders past and present that have impacted the community. We will use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook mediums for a burst of Black facts.
Black History Month E-Newsletter Special- WSU ALANA Alumni Highlight
In celebration of Black History Month, TWA will work with WSU Marketing Team & Alumni Office to highlight our Black WSU-TWA leaders. We will create an e-newsletter for the month of February and then a paper version for April. To view visit alumni.worcester.edu
Photos sent by TWA featuring Worcester State TWA Members
Resource list compiled by Linzy Martinez, Assistant Director, Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development