Clark University is celebrating Black History Month with a robust schedule of programming, from pop-up markets and speakers to film screenings and a special Homecoming weekend for Black alumni.
“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion [ODI] is excited to be hosting and partnering with Clark partners for Black History Month,” said Ashley Caruso, assistant director of diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and planning. “We are hoping to bring the Clark community and local community together to foster a strong Black History Month connection that will continue in the coming years.”
Also sponsoring events is the Office of Identity, Student Engagement, and Access, which is “committed to the equitable support and access to resources for the growth and holistic success of our underrepresented students at Clark,” said E. Tejada III, associate director for gender and sexuality. “Our goal through this month’s programming, and by supporting our student organizations like the Black Student Union and our campus partners, is to highlight and uplift Black voices, lives, and experiences.”
The Black Student Union is working with ODI and the Clark Black Alumni Association to organize the Black Alumni Homecoming Weekend, which kicks off on Friday, Feb. 24, with the Panel of the Decades, a discussion featuring Black alumni from a range of class years. Also taking place that weekend is the BlackExcellence Ball (Saturday, Feb. 25), a fun-filled night that will include a red carpet (formal attire requested), photo booth, light refreshments, good food, dancing, and a live DJ.
The Homecoming Weekend will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a Soul Food Brunch in The Grind.
The Office of Community Engagement and Volunteering’s CEV Speaker Series will bring to campus Sha-Asia Medina, director of The Village — an Afrocentric cultural, learning, and healing center in the Main South neighborhood. “We are committed to uplifting the work of Black organizations here in Worcester,” said Domenica Perrone, CEV director. “We hope that members of Clark’s campus can come to learn about the important work being done by The Village and to recognize the beauty and wisdom of ongoing work being done by community members in Worcester to celebrate diversity and progress towards equity and justice.”
Black History Month programming will include screenings of “Black Panther” and its sequel, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The films highlight the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fictional country of Wakanda and the real-world concept of Afrofuturism — a cultural aesthetic that combines science fiction, history, and fantasy to explore the African American experience and connect those from the Black diaspora with their forgotten African ancestry.
On March 1, a panel of students and faculty will discuss the films and their depiction of Afro-futurism and the Black experience.
“Our commitment to the students we serve, and specifically Black students, is rooted in intersectionality, understanding that any student has a number of identities they hold and in which they show up in different spaces,” Tejada said. “We understand the history of our Black students at Clark and seek to honor their experiences, both past and future, while walking alongside them in guiding all members of Clark’s community to be compassionate allies in building belonging.”