The Edgar Beckham Helping Hand Awards Ceremony, scheduled for April 27th at 5PM are held in honor of Edgar Beckham, the first African-American Dean of the College and a tireless advocate for social justice. It recognizes students, faculty, and staff who are doing dynamic work towards diversity, inclusion and social justice on campus. A catered dinner is served at the event.
This year, we have specific awards for students who are doing excellent work in specific aspects of campus. The awards are as follows:
- Excellence in Science
- Excellence in Athletics
- Excellence in the Arts
- Academic Excellence
- Foot in the Door Award (Freshman Award)
- Senior Legacy Award
- Campus Inspiration Award
Black History Month, for as long as we have been students at Wesleyan, has been the only time during the year that Ujamaa has had a significant and visible presence on campus. This is in stark contrast to the historical roots of Ujamaa, which was formed to serve as a space for the Student of Color community to build relationships and community with one another and really strengthen themselves against a campus that at the time (and more often than we’re willing to admit now) was systematically separating, tokenizing, and in no uncertain terms, oppressing them.
Black History Month, then, was a space for community development, education about critical issues going on in the African diaspora, and a reclamation and centering of topics that weren’t being taught on Wesleyan’s campus. It served as a reflection of the state of the collective and the state of the Student of Color community.
This is still true. However, the efforts of community development, education, and campus awareness have not been the premise of Ujamaa’s current mission. Before we have a Black History Month, the events that take place during this month should be reflective of the community that it represents. Last semester, however, there was one Ujamaa collective meeting. The planning of Black History Month has taken place completely within the confines of the Ujamaa board members. This does not mean that the events would necessarily be bad, but it does highlight that Black History Month is not reflective of the community as a whole.
Black History Month, as it stands on campus, is a performative activity.
Come to the UOC (190 High St.) this Sunday 11/24 at 4:30 for an open community meeting. We’re going to be discussing use of the space, upcoming changes, the history of the space, and future ideas.
Date: Sunday, November 23
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: University Organizing Center (190 High St.)
Hope to see all you activists there!
I went (in person) to my second Wes Thinks Big this past Wednesday and the atmosphere was great for learning while not doing homework. The turnout of the audience and the excitement of students elevated the event to a much higher level than it would have been had it been in a different venue or with less people. Everyone was really excited to be there which, as Andrea Roberts pointed out during her talk, is interesting because we’re (allegedly) rarely as excited to go class. On to the highlights:
- Sarah Mahurin from the African-American Studies and English Department started off the evening with a talk on “What We Talk About When We Talk About Clothes.” She’s my advisor so full disclosure, if you’re looking at the video and you hear an audible yelp when asks the question “Well, what’s a bro?” it’s probably mine. The talk was essentially about “selective feminism” and how our conversations about people’s clothing are really conversations about gender expectations, class consciousness, and respectability politics. Memorable quotes include “You know you’re talking to a professor when they ask you if you can define your offensive term more clearly for me?” and “Sometimes thinking big means talking less.”
Dear Wes Activists!
Do you care abut the UOC? Do you want to see it grow and develop? Do you have interest in Wesleyan activism more generally? Then apply to be on the UOC Coordinating Committee! This committee is responsible for guiding the development of the space both aesthetically and in terms of initiatives that we will do such as programming and workshopping.
If you want to join, please send a short statement of interest to Christian Hosam ’15 at chosam[at]wesleyan[dot]edu by Tuesday November 5th.