The typical midday chatter of Mills College’s Adams Plaza momentarily hushed Monday, Feb. 2, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s voice filled the warm air: “We shall overcome. We shall overcome.”
The gathering was held to celebrate the start of Black History Month at Mills College. Soon the moment of hush shifted to cheerful festivity as bouncy beats replaced the voice of King on the sound system. Students clustered around the Mills College Black Women’s Collective (BWC) table, the hub of the Black History Month Kick Off Party, discussing upcoming events and eating cookies.
“Today we’re mostly just trying to be in community,” said Joyelle Baker, president of the BWC. The theme of this year’s Black History Month is “Healing Justice.” The month’s events will be geared towards identifying and sharing holistic responses to the institutionalized racism and subsequent trauma and violence facing Black individuals today.
Among this month’s events are: Black Lives Matter, an event honoring Black individuals who have lost their lives due to police brutality; Decolonizing Your Diet, an event exploring the importance of knowing where your food comes from; Heal Your Hair; A dinner honoring Black faculty and staff; Healing From the Toxic Media; The Art of Living Black, an evening of open studios as part of the Bay Area Black Artists Exhibition and Art Tour entitled “The Art of Living Black;” Healing Justice Conversations; The Black History Month Dance; and a much-anticipated production of “Pocketbook Monologues.”
“These events and healing [are] so important,” Cheryl Reed, outreach coordinator for the BWC said. “[Healing] is a crucial part of liberation.”
More information about upcoming Black History Month events can be found on the ethnic studies department’s webpage, posted around Mills College and in the Student News Digest.