Intercultural & Social Justice Programming

The House’s Intercultural & Social Justice Programming invites community members to explore critical social issues through an intercultural lens and empowers students to challenge injustice and pursue equity. Specifically, this area seeks to encourage ongoing dialogue about the intersections of Blackness with other social identities, provide avenues for advocacy around pertinent issues affecting Black communities, and to educate the campus and local communities on the richness of Black histories and cultures. This area also organizes opportunities for students to learn with and serve local communities in ways that deepen their knowledge of and support Black cultures. For information on any of these offerings, please contact afamhouse@yale.edu.

Black History Programming:

The House celebrates Black history ALL throughout the year! This monthly discussion series provides a space in which attendees can intentionally consider the intersections of their racial identities with other social/cultural identities. Attendees are able to explore the diverse expressions of Blackness and their connection to other ways of being in our world. Events in the past have included: “Julia is Black: Celebrating Afro-Latinidad at La Casa,” “The Convergence of Black and Brown Power: The Relationship between the Black Panther Party and the Brown Berets,” and “Ever So Humbled: African Americans, Settler Colonialism, and the Elusive Quest for Home” presented by PhD Student Khalil Johnson.

Black History Month:

While the Afro-American Cultural Center celebrates Black history throughout the entire year, we also formally observe Black History Month (BHM) each February to honor the histories and contributions of people of African heritage to our university, our city, our nation, and our world.

The Afro-American Cultural Center hosts its annual BHM kick-off for all members of the university and local community. The month is comprised of many events hosted by our resident groups, including the Black Solidarity Conference, which is the largest student-run Black Student Leadership Conference in North America. Since 1995, over 700 undergraduates of various races, religions, ethnicities, and communities from across the United States and Canada have attended this exceptional event. Through discussions, panels, networking, and social gatherings, students from across the country analyze issues affecting the Black/Afro-Diasporic community and explore solutions that can be implemented on their own college campuses. The Afro-American Cultural Center closes out the month with an annual trip to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.

History:
In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life & History announced “Negro History Week” would be held in the second week of February, which coincided with Frederick Douglass’ birthday. In 1969, the same year that the Afro-American Cultural Center was established, the Black United Students and their advocates at Kent State University proposed to expand this to an annual celebration, and in February 1970, the first celebration of Black History Month was held at Kent State University. Educational institutions and Black cultural/community centers began recognizing this month as Black History Month, and in 1976, President Gerald Ford officially named February “Black History Month” and urged all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” In 1987, the United Kingdom officially designated October as Black History Month. In 1995, Canada officially recognized February as Black History Month, and just in 2016, the Netherlands decided to observe October for their Black History Month.

MLK Commemoration:

Dean Nelson, the Director of Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center, serves as the Chair of the University MLK Commemoration. In planning events that honor the life and legacy of Rev. Dr., Martin Luther King, Jr., Dean Nelson convenes a committee of University and community partners who help coordinate the official keynote lecture and create a centralized calendar of events on campus and in New Haven. Bree Newsome (2018), Diane Nash (2017), and Cornel Brooks (2016) have served as recent keynotes, and events have included film screenings, lectures, open mics, and book discussions.  

For information on any of these programs or events, please contact afamhouse@yale.edu.