Cultural Leadership held our annual Black Culture and Identity Program on Sunday, February 6. This program is usually heavily based in history and the Black experience between the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the civil rights movement, and this year facilitators decided to diversify the curriculum in a way that centers a range of lived experiences. Students heard from Dr. Katrina Thompson Moore on early African & African American history, and Senior Facilitator Stephanie Briggs on Black Feminism.
For the first time in history, Cultural Leadership held a panel on Black Identity, and invited guests to discuss questions like, “What were you told about Blackness growing up, and how did it shape your upbringing?” and, “How have your identities influenced where you are now, your career goals, and the legacy you want to leave behind?” Panelist & Software Engineer Roger Jones grew up with aspirations to be an engineer like his father, however, he was often dismayed when his father would share that he couldn’t hire a candidate due to their hair being styled in dreadlocks, as his workplace viewed natural Black hairstyles as “unprofessional.” Roger decided that he would become a successful engineer that wears his hair locked with confidence, and he has done exactly that! This program helped students explore and understand Black Identity, and provided notions of self-actualization and validation. Program participants are eager to hear from Student to Student and others at our Jewish History and Culture session on February 27!
Picture (from Left): Dr. Kimberly Morton (Director, TRIO Student Support Services at WashU), Rokhaya Toure (CL Class 16 Alum), Stephanie Briggs, Roger Jones (Software Engineer), Alex Templeton (Activist & WashU Law ’24), Chidera Agwu (SLU ’21 Neuroscience & Pre-Med)