Pomona Black History Month Lineup
By Dianne Anderson
Black history, the current challenge to expand self-awareness, and the future of cultural unity will bring out the whole community for a long lineup of free consciousness-raising events at the Claremont Colleges.
Those up for flexing their superhuman powers of deduction are invited to attend “Comics, Afrofuturism, and the Black Superhero,” a series running each Friday through February from noon to 1:30 at Pomona College, Carnegie 107.
And, of course, comic books will be raffled at each event.
On February 1, “ Why Black Representation Matters” is the focus for Professor Mzilikazi Kone from University of California, Riverside; Riverside, Cosplayer, Singer, & Entertainer Krystina Arielle and Claremont School of Theology Nikia Robert.
On February 8, features some of the defining lines line between art and life with “The Artist as Revolutionary,” featuring Francis Gateward of Cal State Northridge and Tamisha Tyler from Fuller Theological Seminary
On February 15, the community can take time “Imagining New Worlds,” through the eyes of Sophia Zarders – Illustrator, Comic Artist, & Educator. February 22 finishes off with something all fans love, “Black Panther and Black Empowerment” with dynamic speakers, Amber-Rose Howard, statewide coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget, and Peace Amadi, associate professor with Hope International University.
Pomona College is also tipping the scales in a positive direction as one of the best institutions for Black student enrollment across the state.
On Saturday, February 23, the Office of Black Student Affairs at The Claremont Colleges presents its third annual Black Intersections Conference.
Latreace Cox, administrative and events coordinator in the Office of Black Student Affairs, said is excited about the upcoming Black Intersections Conference serving the Southern Claremont Colleges.
Each year, speakers, presenters and artists converge to share their vision for the community. The deadline for presentations loom, and applications must be submitted by February 9.
“Invest, ignite imagine” incorporates research, ideas and artistic performances, and open to the entire college community. Presenters are invited to bring their concepts for investing in the future, inspiring the community, and their vision for a better tomorrow.
Participation is always strong, and the local venue also allows students to address concerns for their campuses. There are five undergraduate colleges within Claremont Colleges, including Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Scripps College, and Pitzer College.
Presenters in past years have covered a range of topics at the event from Black solidarity and student activism to the rougher aspects of student life – social isolation on campus. Pomona College has seen a good uptick in Black enrollment, but the five-campus community at Claremont Colleges is still predominantly white.
In the weeks ahead, there are many other activities gearing up within the Claremont five colleges within their respective Black student groups, which, Cox said, helps bolster Black student life. She said it has helped improve the numbers for the Pomona campus.
Individual schools, especially Pomona College, have strategically recruited Black students and prioritized student concerns in recent years under the direction of the new Dean Lydia Middleton, along with new OSBA staff, herself included.
Cox said the overhaul has allowed creative latitude to effectively reach the students. Workstudy students are called students managers, and put together their own events from start to finish.
The approach has pulled in more students.
“Our dean is forward thinking,” she said. “We’ve increased our collaboration throughout the years with the other campuses. We support student groups. A lot of them have events throughout the year, so we’ve financially supported that as well.”
The Black Intersections Conference was started by one of their work-study students who attends Claremont Graduate University.
Under the current OBSA leadership, she said the office rebranded and reintroduced itself to Black students as a campus resource. Collaborations have increased as they carry the types of events that students want to see.
Stronger programming and activities help Black students feel more welcome on campus.
“It’s empowering for them. They collaborate with whichever student group they are a part of on campus, and they get on one accord about what’s needed at that time,” she said.
From now until January 30, OBSA is calling on all Black organizations within the five independent colleges to submit their events for the Black History Month calendar to prevent overlapping activities.
She said they are always reaching out to get Black students at the five colleges filtered in through the OBSA office to make first contact.
It’s important that students know they have a place to turn for support.
“We just try to stay ahead of the game,” she said. “We do student-centered events. This is not faculty or staff presenting, this is for you.”
To learn more about the conference, see https://services.claremont.edu/obsa/black-intersections-cfp/