On February 2nd, 2016, in honor of Black History Month, #BlackLivesMatter Toronto co-founder and general spokesperson for the #BlackLivesMatter movement Janaya Khan came to speak at Thomas Great Hall on the campus of Bryn Mawr College. Janaya Khan identifies as black, queer, and gender non-conforming – all which speak to the wide array of personal identifiers that the #BlackLivesMatter movement encompasses. This event was the result of collaborative efforts between Sisterhood, the Tri-College Chapter of the NAACP, the Enid Cook Center Committee, and the Pensby, and drew an impressively large crowd, as Thomas Great Hall was completely full.
The general format of the talk was question and answer, preceded by a brief overview of the #BlackLivesMatter movement within the context of modern day race relations. Throughout the event, Khan touched on many important aspects of not only the #BlackLivesMatter but also racism and how it manifests itself on a global scale.
“Angela Davis is as bright as you.” – Janaya Khan
At the core of their talk, Khan stressed the significance of time, in regards to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As Khan explained it, the #BlackLivesMatter movement could not have existed such as it does today, in any other time in history. The events related to race relations in American preceding this movement, and the work that is being done today to continue to promote this movement, are both integral in continuation of #BlackLivesMatter.
Over the course of their talk Khan discussed a wide range of topics, spanning racial and political issues. After the event, Jhoneidy Javier, a Freshman at Haverford College who attended the talk described it as “…inspiring but also challenging. Khan had everyone talking by the end of the event, inviting everyone to challenge their perception of a social movement and empowering others to participate in the struggle for liberation of all oppressed peoples.”
For the rest of the month, Bryn Mawr College will be hosting events related to Black History and race relations in America. On the 10th, 20th, and 26th there will be a series of “Cultural Exchanges,” where stories, food, and dance respectively will be shared at Bryn Mawr. Additionally, on the 16th of this month, Dr. Hadiyah Green will speak on Black Women in STEM, in Thomas Great Hall at Bryn Mawr College. All of these events will be worthwhile, and will help in celebrating diversity and culture this through the end of the month.
A special thanks to Jhoneidy Javier, who attended the talk on February 2nd, and took extensive notes which played a central role in the creation of this article.