In celebration of Black History Month, The Center, Every Student, Every Story held a presentation on Friday to discuss the history of black activism in U.S. history with the University of Nevada, Reno, community.
“Today’s event is representing young black activists who I feel like don’t have so much of a voice,” said a student leader at the Center, Mauricia Feaster. “To get your voice out not only through a protest but also in person. I feel like a lot of people are afraid to fight for their rights. It’s okay to express how you feel, fight for what you think should be allowed in society today.”
At the event titled ‘Blacktivism’, the Center showcased the 2011 film ‘The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975’, which led viewers through the evolution of the Black Power movement in the U.S. As the film played, students and staff created their own protest materials with words that felt most empowering to them.
Itzel Perez, 22, began tracing the words “Decolonize your Feminism”, saying this message resonated with her because she believed her sentiment was a reminder that feminism should be in support of all communities — not just one group.
“I think it’s important because it reminds activists, as well as just everyday people, what the fight is about, and that you still have the right to stand up for your rights,” Perez said. “I think it’s also just reassuring that your fight is validating your struggle.”
Another attendee was also seen drawing a portrait of rapper 21 Savage, who was recently attained by ICE for outstaying his visa. Her poster read, “Immigration is a Black Issue.”
Feaster said the importance of making an activism poster is to allow people to showcase the ideal they believe in the most, and should do so without fear.
“[People] have their own voice, their own view of showing other people that, ‘Hey, I can relate to that. I can relate to the DACA issues. I can relate to the racism. I can relate to so many other things than just one matter,’” she said.
Feaster, who also coordinated the events, said she hoped people would walk away knowing how African-Americans fought all of their lives to get to where the community is today.
“I know all races go through dramatic experiences, but I feel like African-Americans have it difficult as well,” she said. “I feel like it’s hard to try to stand up for what was right, but then they also see the flaws in why you shouldn’t do so […] It’s hard being African-American, trying to have a higher power when people see you less than, and so I feel like activism is an important part that we need to take into consideration to get our voices heard.”
The Center, Every Student, Every Story will be hosting a poetry night on Thursday, Feb. 21, and canvas painting on Thursday, Feb. 28, and are welcoming everyone to come share their experiences and continue to learn the history of African-Americans in the U.S.
Karolina Rivas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.