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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

BLM day at UMass Boston reflects on resistance and resiliency

Flyer for the 2022 BLM Day. Graphic sourced from UMass Boston News.

On Nov. 7, UMass Boston celebrated Black Lives Matter day to commemorate the resiliency of Black communities and to honor and recognize Black lives. The day mark and appreciates the Black community’s contribution to other communities.

“Today and every day, we express our gratitude for Black students, alumni, staff, faculty, administrators, trustees and community members who have contributed immeasurably to the improvement of UMass Boston and the world,” said Chancellor Marcello Suárez-Orozco in an email, calling students to join the campus community to celebrate the BLM Day.

In the wake of extreme racial injustice and violence targeting Black communities, BLM day was declared to advocate for racial justice at the grassroots, nationally and internationally. In November 2020, Chancellor Suárez-Orozco proclaimed that every first Monday of November would be celebrated as BLM day on campus. “As an institutional leader for equity and social justice, UMass Boston understands BLM as a human rights issue and declaration,” stated Suárez-Orozco

Every year, BLM day events are based on a theme where students, faculty and community members are invited to join the conversation and celebrate the day. This year’s theme was “A Beautiful Resistance: Black Excellence Through Art Expression and Leadership.” The events and theme were planned to highlight local artists who have shown a strong passion and dedication to honoring and elevating the Black community.

On Monday, the series of events commenced at 9 a.m., with Suárez-Orozco’s inaugural address. Following this was an address by the special assistant to the chancellor for Black life, Dr. Joseph N. Cooper.

The panel discussion commenced at 9:30 a.m. on the theme of “A Beautiful Resistance through the Arts.” This year, like every other year, UMass Boston had phenomenal panelists and artists who showcased and spoke about their work. One of the panelists included Andres Holder, who has over ten years of experience in performing arts. He has produced several works and performances for John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and many other theaters.

Jean Appolon was another panelist. Appolon is the co-founder and artistic director of Jean Appolon Expressions and is also a successful Boston-based choreographer. BAMS Fest’s founder and creative director, Catherine T. Morris, also serves as the Boston Foundation’s director of arts and culture. She has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to building platforms that support Black creatives and inspiring local audiences to engage with the arts. Morris was among one of the panelists at the event.

After the panel discussion, there were several breakout sessions, which were led by other artists and moderators. The breakout sessions were facilitated on numerous themes and topics. These included “Hip-Hop History: Learning About Black American Culture Through the Eyes and Voices of Contemporary Disruptors” and “Self-Awareness, Rest and Liberation: Shifting Cultural Patterns and Narratives in the Name of Wellness and Healing.”

Some of these workshop moderators were Akrobatik, Born Bi-Kim, Pacey Foster and more. Boston-born Hip-Hop artist Akrobatik is well-known worldwide. Since 2013 he has been teaching Hip-Hop studies at the Honors College. Foster is an associate professor of management at UMass Boston.

Before the breakout sessions, students from the Black Student Center at UMass Boston performed at the event. Free shirts were given to the attendees at the event. Breakfast and Lunch were served too.

Dr. Bettina Love delivered a keynote speech as the event was coming to a close. Dr. Love is a prominent author who teaches at Teachers College, Columbia University, as the William F. Russell Professor. Her writing, research, teaching and educational advocacy work overlap with the goals of abolitionist teaching, Black joy and anti-racism, which aims to undermine education reform and promote public education. Her address was inspiring and informative.

Several awards were presented to honor the efforts of people and organizations that have shown dedication to the community via their artistic work.

About the Contributor
Kaushar Barejiya, News Editor