Students and faculty gathered to attend the Biannual Men and Women of Color Enquiry and Student Research Poster Session on Nov. 17 in the University Student Union’s (USU) Northridge Center at California State University, Northridge.
The Department of Africana Studies and the DuBois-Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement sponsored the session, which gives undergraduate students of color an opportunity to participate in and present research in a formal educational setting.
The program, themed Black Saga and Regulation: Primer for Black Empowerment, is an ongoing collaboration between Africana studies professor Cedric Hackett, who teaches the course Africana Studies 325: The Black Man in Contemporary Times, and Professor Marquita Gammage, who teaches Africana Studies 324: The Black Woman in Contemporary Times.
“It is important for us to focus on a space where students can unapologetically be who they are and be empowered to continue to grow,” said Hackett.
The free event spotlighted student research relating to the course subjects, which the students worked on collaboratively all semester. Students worked together in groups to create research topics and projects.
CSUN students Elder Guix, Miguel Limon, Zoey Spraglin and Bryant Basilio, who are enrolled in Africana Studies 325, presented their research poster, Do It For The Culture: Migos-Media Informing Great Oppression in Society, which analyzed the mainstream media portrayal of black males and their ongoing battle for social justice in America. The group said their project name was inspired by the popular hip-hop rap trio Migos and their 2017 Grammy-nominated album, Culture.
“From working as a team with my group to learning about a new culture that is part of my community, I have learned new knowledge that will help me in years to come,” said Guix, a mechanical engineering major. “As a future engineer, I know that working in teams is crucial to one’s success, and being well informed and educated [about] different cultures is useful when helping out my community.”
Following the students’ poster sessions, guests enjoyed free refreshments and live music by the CSUN Matador band.
With the biannual sessions, organizers said they hope to provide racial uplift for students and help others gain knowledge and appreciation of black culture from a scholarly perspective. The November session was the 10th session in five years, with the first occurring in 2013.
Keynote speaker and attorney Kyron L. Johnson spoke to students about his own experience overcoming adversity as a first-generation college student without proper support. Johnson, who met and played football alongside Hackett at Ventura Community College, shared with the CSUN students his experience navigating the educational system with no role models.
“Be prepared, be bold. Don’t let fear take you over, and believe that you can do it,” Johnson said. “Utilize professors as a foundation.”
Johnson went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific (UOP) in Stockton, and then his Juris Doctor from UOP’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.
During the session, CSUN students and alumni of all ethnicities also performed Black Man-ologues, soliloquies addressing common themes in the characters of black men.
For more information about the Men and Women of Color Enquiry session, email Hackett at email@example.com.