July Coalition Power Breakfast
COAL asks, “What is the state of Black Studies?” From elementary education and high school programs, to Black Studies Departments of higher learning – are we achieving the vision of those that fought to establish Black Studies curricula. Can this discipline inform our current struggles for inclusion and parity?
This is our focus for the July Coalition Power Breakfast. COAL is honored to host a three member panel of experts:
Assoc Prof of African American Studies, University of Illinois Center for Global Studies and President, National Council for Black Studies;
Dr. Kelly Harris, Asst Prof
and Coordinator of African American Studies,
Chicago State University and
Chair of the Chicago Council on Black Studies.
COAL Public Policy Committee
All three guest speakers spoke to the importance of black studies to engendering a sense of culture and togetherness for the community. We explored the history of black studies, as well as its current state and its importance to our community.
In Professor Sundiata’s book, Black Studies in the New Millennium: Resurrecting Ghosts of the Past., he asked a question that was a basis for our this Breakfast: Is African American studies as a field responsible for addressing critical contemporary issues that impact the Black community? What are the responsibilities of Black studies intellectuals in the context of the current political situation in the United States and internationally? Sundiata looked to historian Vincent Harding for an answer which was representative of the views of the three panelists. Again from his book: : Harding answered these questions in this way…the role of the black scholar, and by extension of African American studies, was to “speak the truth to the people”. Sundiata contends that this is still the right answer.
COAL asked the speakers to provide us with their thoughts on what we as individuals and as community organizations can do to nurture a sense of community, educate ourselves and our community and support the discipline of Black Studies.
This was a truly engaging and informative Breakfast.
As a follow-up to this meeting, Pemon Rami suggests the following:
1) Organizations and individuals should consider sponsoring membership events for cultural institutions such as the DuSable, Southside Community Arts Center, Pullman Porter Museum, Black Ensemble Theatre etc.
2) Organizations should be encouraged to bring groups to the museum for educational programs
3) [Breakfast] participants should be encouraged to sponsor and bring a young person to [COAL] monthly meetings with them
4) Add black art, positive music and books to your organizations or business environments and promote them on your websites
A few pictures from the Breakfast: