Saint Mary’s Cultural Weeks concluded with Expressions of Blackness, a week dedicated to celebrating and uplifting the identities of Black students on campus.
By Melanie Moyer
The cultural weeks brought to Saint Mary’s by the Intercultural Center concluded with “Expressions of Blackness,” an exploration of Black identity on and off campus. This is the sixth and final week of the Intercultural Center’s Cultural Weeks, which aim to celebrate the expressions of individual and collective cultural identities on campus. This week follows the virtual BASH, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Asian, and Middle Eastern and North African cultural weeks.
The theme of the week was “Lift Every Voice,” which, as stated by the sole Executive Student Team leader Nessa Lemay-Finister, “was chosen because, in the light of the heightened political climate surrounding Black Lives Matter, it’s important that we continue to hear and listen to the voices of the oppressed.” She continues that “the folks organizing this year's cultural week have dedicated their talents and creativity to ensure that every voice is heard,” and that she hopes “these incredible events will spark joy and shed light upon you all as you join us during troubling times.”
The calendar of events was kicked off on Tuesday with virtual presentations on a Langston Hughes poem, an analysis of J-Cole by Ryan Elston ‘21, and “A Walk Through the 90’s” by Lemay-Finister. On Wednesday, students engaged in a panel discussion on “What Does it Mean to be an Ally.” Panelists included Allen Canez ‘22, Gabby Kunkel ‘22, and Brianna Avarado ‘21, and the discussion was moderated by Legacy Lee. Thursday included a panel discussion on “Being Black and Educated,” which was moderated by Calvin Monroe, and included panelists Mubarak Haruna ‘22, Kimiko Kearney ‘21, Nessa Lemay-Finister ‘22, and Colin Fisher ‘23. The week finished off with a video performance by Colin Fisher ‘23 titled “Control,” a presentation by Samuel Poueu ‘21 titled “I Too, Sing America,” and an outro by Lemay-Finister on the takeaways of the week.
Lemay-Finister states in her outro that the theme of “Lift Every Voice” “helps aid every student who has spoken out during the week: whether via zoom or in a video, every student used their voice, their platform, and their identity to help raise awareness about the importance of expressing Blackness.” She encourages students to keep pursuing change in the SMC community as well as their own, stating that “Black lives do matter, and they are present in the Saint Mary’s community.” Her remarks ended with her thanking the late Chadwick Boseman, who inspired her and countless others to be proud of their Black identity.
Victoria Vidales '21,