Black History Month programming continued with two on-campus events over the past week. The festivities began on Saturday evening in Kresge Auditorium, with a film screening of Shawn Batey’s documentary “Changing Face of Harlem” preceding a Q&A session with Batey.
On Sunday, 10 miles from the courthouse where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd, Kim Potter, another police officer, shot and killed Daunte Wright. As he was being pulled over, Wright called his mom to tell her he was getting pulled over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rear view window.
So here we are again. Another Black person killed by an agent of the state. This time, the excuse was that the officer thought she had grabbed her taser, but instead, she not only took off the safety, but also fired her gun, shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright in the chest and taking his life.
Social media has made it so that a number of people can now see the many injustices committed against our people on camera, including the many assaults, cases of harassment and murder. However, in recent events, as many Black people continue to fight for their lives, a lot of those who like to portray themselves as allies use the Black Lives Matter movement as a mere trend.
On Tuesday evening, journalist and bestselling author Emily Bazelon spoke to the Bowdoin community about the role of prosecutors in contributing to systemic mass incarceration. Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School and co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest podcast.
Civil Rights Activist and educator DeRay Mckesson ’07 joined Bowdoin students, alumni and families Tuesday evening via Zoom to speak on his experiences as an activist in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and as Director of the Council on Criminal Justice Task Force on Policing.
This Wednesday, over 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the Bowdoin community in May of 1964, the annual lecture commemorating King took place online, featuring renowned speaker and author Beverly Tatum, H’06. Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, is the author of the bestselling book “Why Are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” and a leading speaker on issues of race and racism.
Programming for this year’s Black History Month opened with a dialogue between three prominent alumni. This conversation, a reflection on the history, barriers and foundational principles of the Harlem Children’s Zone, was moderated by President Clayton Rose and featured founders of the Harlem’s Children’s Zone Geoffrey Canada ’74 H’07, George Khaldun ’73 and Stanley Druckenmiller ’75 H’07.
On Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the results of the U.S. presidential election were announced by major news outlets , four history professors—Geoffrey Canada Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell, Professor of History Dallas Denery, Associate Professor of History Meghan Roberts and Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies Matthew Klingle—gathered for the fourth panel in the department’s fall semester programming on the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, titled “The 1619 Project and Making Sense of the 2020 Election.” The panel began with a discussion about the legacy of Black women in American politics, with Roberts quoting from Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University Martha Jones’s 2020 book, “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All.” Roberts noted that Stacey Abrams has devoted herself to political organizing in Georgia since her loss in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race.
On Wednesday, the Committee of Governance and Faculty Affairs (GFA) met to continue their discussion about inclusive excellence. Emma Maggie Solberg, associate professor of English, Jennifer Scanlon, senior vice president and dean for academic affairs, and Jeanne Bamforth, assistant to the dean of academic affairs, led this week’s faculty meeting.
This fall, a group of students is engaging in a six-week workshop series called “Race, Power, Oppression, and Liberation.” Responding to students’ interest in engaging in racial justice work at Bowdoin and beyond, the workshop will meet weekly to discuss personal identity and power, institutional and social systems of oppression, anti-racist work and liberation.
One of the most beautiful jerseys added to my collection over the summer became a canary yellow “19/20 Brazil” jersey stamped with a green print reading Black Lives Matter on the back. My body proudly displayed this jersey on August 16, a cloudy afternoon somehow perfect enough to go walking and hunting for Eevees on Pokemon Go.
As I begin my senior year at Bowdoin, my mind races. My thoughts have always been rapid; growing up as the oldest daughter in a single-parent household has its fair share of challenges, and being an educated Black woman in the United States has even more.
President Clayton Rose went before the Brunswick Town Council via Zoom on Tuesday to express concern about racism in the Brunswick area, sharing news of two separate racist incidents that occurred in Brunswick during the last month.
This afternoon, Professor of History Patrick Rael and Geoffrey Canada Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell will kick off a four part discussion series inspired by the New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project.” The series, sponsored by the history department, was inspired by the social and political movements that swept across the United States after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers in May.
In an email to the campus community on Wednesday, President Clayton Rose provided an update on the College’s plan for anti-racist work in the upcoming months. “I am writing to follow up on my message of June 11 about our work ahead on race and racism,” Rose wrote.
For the past few days, an unmistakable beeping noise has pierced my house at least once a day, notifying my entire family of curfews set by Los Angeles officials. None of us were surprised—protests were occurring throughout the country in response to the latest brutal murder of a Black man by a police officer.
Over the past three weeks since George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis police on Monday, May 25, Americans across the country have taken to the streets in protest. These mass demonstrations focus not only on justice for Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others who were slain by police violence, but also on calling for an uncompromising reexamination of institutional racism in our nation.
In the weeks since a police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, our country has been embroiled in a critical conversation about the racism, police brutality and systemic violence that Black Americans face every day. With Americans taking to the streets in all fifty states to protest police brutality, we, the members of the Orient’s editorial board, stand in solidarity with Black students and activists.
As Minneapolis erupted into protest in response to George Floyd’s killing in police custody, communities across the nation followed suit, with large-scale anti-racist demonstrations occurring in more than 75 cities. As Bowdoin students watched the protests unfold on their screens and in their streets, with some choosing to join in, sign petitions, make donations and spread awareness on social media, the College formulated its own response.