Reflecting on the sacrifices of the students in the 1960s who demanded administrators create a black studies program at California State University, Northridge, the Rev. Zedar Broadous encouraged students to continue the fight.
“It’s up to you, as students and activists, to make sure that the movement continues to move forward,” Broadous said. “It’s up to you to become the armor-bearers.”
Broadous, who attended what was then San Fernando Valley State College in the 1960s, was the keynote speaker during the Department of Africana Studies’ 46th Anniversary celebration, Sankofa 2.0, on Nov. 4. He serves on the board of governors of the Valley Economic Alliance, is the former head of the San Fernando Valley Branch of the NAACP and a member of one of the most prominent African-American families in the San Fernando Valley.
Before Broadous spoke, attendees watched the documentary Storm at Valley State. The film chronicles the incidents that led up to the Nov. 4, 1968, takeover of the administration building by students, to protest the institution’s treatment of minority students. The university became one of the first in the nation with a black studies program when the department opened its doors in 1969.
“The importance of Africana Studies Week was to promote student awareness and engagement,” said Cedric D. Hackett, a professor in the Department of Africana Studies and event coordinator. “The theme, Sankofa 2.0, was developed in an effort to provide historical knowledge, critical consciousness and validation for African Americans who have and will continue to advocate for change, human rights and social acceptance.”
The weeklong celebration kicked off Nov. 2, with an open house hosted by the Department of Africana Studies that showcased CSUN’s various black organizations. The week’s events included a lecture by Nina Smart, author of Wild Flower: The True Story of a Romanian Girl in Africa; #BlackLivesMatter@CSUN, a panel discussion on social justice hosted by NABJ-SABC at CSUN and CSUN’s Civil Discourse and Social Change initiative; and the Black Wall Street Fair.
“This week’s events are pivotal in reminding students of all ethnicities at CSUN that our issues matter,” said Daisy Lightfoot, president of the NABJ-SABC, which co-hosted the Black Lives Matter forum on social justice. “This celebration … reminds us of the work that needs to be done now.”