“As Black folks, especially Black Americans, I feel so much of our present existence is perceived to be tied to our oppression, past and present. However, I believe it to be of utmost importance to highlight what it is like for our community to experience joy in the present moment. To me, Black Joy, Uninterrupted means being able to simply be present, in the moment, and most importantly, finding solace in that,” says Harrelle Deshazier, interim coordinator and academic advisor of the Umoja Center.
The Umoja Center for Pan African Student Excellence invites attendees and participants of all events to explore, unpack, and discover the sustaining power of Black Joy and the diverse ways it is experienced. The center kicked off Black Liberation and History Month with an open house on Feb. 1.
Black Liberation Month Events
Journalism Professor Kirby Moss will host a discussion on the topic of "Unpacking Black Joy" on Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Banquet Room of Gutswurrak Student Activities Center. The conversation will explore various aspects of Black joy, including what contributes to it, what obstacles interrupt it, and how it is portrayed in the media.
On Feb. 18, the center will host its second annual “Black to the Land: Paddle Out” at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is an Umoja-exclusive event for students who have signed up for academic services through the center. To register, email umoja@ humboldt.edu or stop by the Umoja Center located in Nelson Hall East 206.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Umoja Center is hosting guest speaker, F.D. Signifier, at the Native American Forum (BSS 162) from 6-7:30 PM. Signifier is a content creator who will share his journey, including his challenges, best practices, and how he has experienced liberation as a Black content creator. He describes himself as a Video Essayist on YouTube who mainly focuses on critical analysis of Black media and culture.
On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Umoja Center will host the Black Joy Bash, a celebration on the final Saturday of Black Liberation Month at the Gutswurrak Student Activities Center 225 - Kate Buchanan Room (KBR) from 4-7 pm. This is a place for students to come and celebrate Black Liberation Month and Black Culture, featuring music, dancing, games, food, and more!
“Black Liberation and History Month is a time for Black-identified folks to share in remembrance, reverence, and celebration of our legacy across time, and for others who may not identify with our culture and experiences to take a back seat and support and recognize us throughout the month and beyond,” Deshazier says.
Find out more about Black Liberation and History events here.