The Douglass Leadership House (DLH) focused their annual “project group” on the accomplishments of 1960s Cambridge Movement leader Gloria Richardson during an event Saturday.
Discussions with the purpose of exploring social justice in an “exciting and socially-conscious way,” as DLH described their event online, were sparked by the connection between Richardson’s movement and the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement.
The event, despite being centered around a serious topic, fostered a comfortable environment for students to learn from each other and voice their opinions on events that have influenced Black history. Prior to the discussion, students were encouraged to participate in an interactive game quizzing their knowledge on the parts of the Constitution related to race and gender.
Junior Aleem Griffiths thought the game was both entertaining and informative.
“The game was a nice warm-up before the discussion because not only did it have comedic elements built into it, but it was also very educational, and it showed me how much I didn’t know about the Civil Rights Movement,” she said.
The presentation, which 18 students attended, touched upon Richardson’s involvement in the Cambridge Movement, the accomplishments of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, and the birth of the social media hashtag “BlackLivesMatter,” which gained widespread use following the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr.
“I wish the attendance was higher,” freshman Sadyn Angeles said about the event’s effectiveness in spreading awareness. “A lot of people on this campus aren’t knowledgeable on the issues that affect the African-American community. I definitely learned a lot, myself.”
When the floor was opened to questions, Angeles asked, “How can this movement that preaches Black lives matter not stand behind their Black trans brothers and sisters?”
Junior Simone Johnson countered Angeles’ question explaining that the movement’s priority is to make progress for the Black community as a whole.
“I’m Black first, before I’m a woman,” she said.
The discussion ended on the question, “How can you be the modern day Gloria Richardson?” to which Amber Baldie ‘15, emphasized the importance of being educated and knowing Black history.
“Without the information, you’re just one of these hotheads spewing out information without the facts to back it up,” she concluded.