California State University, Northridge will mark the enduring value of Africana studies with a series of online presentations next week that explore what makes the field so important during a time of political outrage and social media misinformation.
Africana Studies Week 2021 will begin on Monday, Nov. 1, with a discussion about mental health and the role it plays in the fight for social justice, and will conclude on Thursday, Nov. 4, with a discussion about the fight for equity at CSUN during the late 1960s.
“For over 50 years, Africana studies departments have had to fight factions of power and influence to receive the academic and financial resources necessary to thrive,” said Sharon D. Johnson, adjunct professor of Africana studies. “In the same ways that we were birthed from righteous outrage and racial reckoning, amidst a current age of political upheaval and social misinformation, we’re still standing. Through far-reaching media and technology, the power and influence of misrepresentation and misinformation meant to destroy Africana studies, pose a heightened threat.”
This “cacophony,” continued Maya Johnson, adjunct professor of Africana studies, “seeks to silence conversations about race, equity and inclusion, as well as the very academic programs that serve as nourishment to these dialogues. Our theme for the week, ‘Still Standing: Africana Studies Amidst Political Outrage and Social Misinformation,’ emphasizes and honors our resistance — creative, political, intellectual, psychological and corporal. We continue to nurture, empower and learn from each other holistically, so that we can continue to stand together against distortion and ensure the life and growth of Africana studies.”
Cedric Hackett, associate professor of Africana studies and director of CSUN’s DuBois-Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement, called Africana Studies Week “a time to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are headed.”
“It seeks to inspire the next generation of social change agents,” Hackett said.
Johnson added that CSUN’s Africana Studies Week “remains important as a potent form of collective creative resistance.”
“The week’s events inform and educate, inspire and uplift, and pave firm roads toward a more liberated future,” she said. “I’m proud to be able to work with like-minded colleagues to this end.”
A list of the week’s events is below:
Monday, Nov. 1, from 3-4 p.m.: “Rest and Revolution: Mental Health & the Quest for Liberation,” with Abram Milton of University Counseling Services and Africana studies professor Gabriel Selassie.
Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 2-4 p.m.: “Louder Than A Hashtag#: Understanding Activism and Social Change Advocacy,” featuring a panel of current and former CSUN students, moderated by Africana studies professor Maya Singleton.
Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 4-5 p.m.: “Silence into Language into Action: A Conversation with Karen Hunter,” featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Karen Hunter and Johnson.
Thursday, Nov., 4, from 2-3 p.m.: “Storm at Valley State: The Teach-In,” featuring alumnus the Rev. Zedar Broadus, a student at what was then San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN) in 1968, when students occupied the university’s administration building to demand better treatment of and support for students of color and the creation of ethnic studies programs.
Those interested in attending the events may do so via Zoom, using meeting ID 897 8630 4671.