Arts & Life, Events

Herstories to rewrite history

After centuries of historical erasure, black women have a story they wish to tell on the Cal State Long Beach campus.

Presented by the Multicultural Center and Women’s Gender and Equity Center, #BlackHerstories was an event hosted yesterday in the University Student Union Ballroom that gave black women the chance to voice their own personal stories.

#BlackHerstories is a first-time event that hopes to offer a platform for black women to voice intersectional histories thought to be forgotten.

This multicultural event presented many speakers who shared their own personal experiences and struggles through poetry, monologues and essays.

The keynote speaker was longtime activist Shamell Bell. According to the information pamphlet at the event, Bell is “a mother, community organizer, an original member of the #Blacklivesmatter movement, and co-founder of the Black Infinity Complex.” The Black Infinity Complex is a coalition bringing together academics and community members fighting against black premature death and state-sanctioned violence.

Bell delivered a recount of how she became “radicalized and fully invested in the #Blacklivesmatter [movement].” She discussed nationwide police brutality against the black community as well as her involvement with the #Blacklivesmatter movement over the past few years.

“My vision is to viciously attack the detrimental practices and policies that disadvantage the poor and people of color,” Bell said.

Jonathan Higgins, assistant director of multicultural affairs and one of the coordinators of #BlackHerstories, hoped that this event may inspire other similar sociopolitical events on campus.

“There’s always this conversation about how women start these large movements and often times their experiences or voices become marginalized. This event is a way to celebrate their voices and experiences, to show our appreciation [for those] who are doing amazing things,” Higgins said.

Those involved wanted the audience to learn about the different battles understand that marginalized people have the strongest voice but are oftentimes the most oppressed.

“When we think about and celebrate Black History Month often we don’t think about women’s voices in the way we should,” said Janay Watts, CSULB graduate student in education with an option in social and cultural analysis of education. “When we think about the civil rights movement a lot of black women put their own equity, questions and concerns on the backburner for black liberation and the ways for which black women have really been the backs so to speak of movements.”

This event was the third installation of the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Black History Month Celebration and is followed by the MLK Day of Service on Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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