Faces on Zoom for Community Education Day

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First Community Education Day Centers on Anti-Black Racism

One of a series of programmatic events complements new academic curriculum

On September 17, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (IDI), in partnership with the Community Commons, hosted Hampshire’s first Community Education Day. Overlapping with Advising Days, when classes are canceled so that students can meet with their advisers, Community Education Days are part of the College’s new curricular model and will be integrated throughout the academic year.

The first event centered on this year’s Common Read, The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project.” As part of Hampshire’s commitment to anti-racist pedagogy, the special issue was selected as a tool to explore the history and impact of Black slavery in the United States. Interactive components of the project, among them articles, podcasts, and literary pieces, are also being utilized in Division I seminars with new students.

The full day of programming, on Zoom, began with a faculty panel reflecting on “The 1619 Project” and a group reading of former Hampshire professor Aracelis Girmay’s poem “You Are Who I Love” (watch below). A midday break provided time for lunch and advising. Discussions, story circles, and related workshops filled the afternoon.

Two listening sessions of “The 1619 Project” were held. Also offered were a “Creative Resilience Dialogue” with natural science staffer Naya Gabriel and a discussion about oppression theory with staff from the Office of Accessibility Resource Services. Members of the Knowledge Commons held a facilitated conversation about the power of art, culture, and voting. IDI staff, acknowledging the complexities of systems of oppression and power, focused on strengths and skills in underserved communities. A workshop provided mindfulness tools to offset anxiety, especially for survivors of sexual assault and intimate-partner violence.

Open to all students, staff, faculty, and alums, the programs interwoven into Community Education Days are opportunities to learn, challenge ourselves, and celebrate and strengthen our educational community. For students, they’re also an opportunity to earn CEL-1 hours.

The next Community Education Day will take place during the College’s annual Engage! Conference, on October 7.

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