The Black Studies Unit at Hostos organized several Black History Month events in February under a unifying theme, “Sankofa in the Bronx,” to show how the social, political, and cultural contributions of African diaspora communities contributed to the development of New York’s northernmost borough.

The presentations, organized by Hostos professors Ana Ozuna, Weldon Williams, Anamaría Flores and Professor Steven Rice, revealed how African diaspora culture flourished with the founding of religious, political and civic organizations beginning in the colonial period. In the 1960s and 70s, Black and Afro-Latino community activists jointly contested violence, criminal activity and the destruction of Bronx neighborhoods. Today, Black and Afro-Latino Bronx residents continue to address pressing social and political issues such as gentrification through their civic engagement in cultural and educational institutions, and community groups.

More than 300 students, faculty and staff participated in these educational events that celebrated this rich heritage.

“Our hope is that students, faculty and staff gained a greater appreciation and understanding of African Diaspora cultures in The Bronx and their continued contributions to the social, cultural and political fabric of these neighborhoods through these presentations,” Professor Ozuna said.

The events were:
Africans in the Bronx: Developing Communities Abroad and in Africa:

Dr. Jane Kani Edward
Dr. Jane Kani Edward, a Sudanese native, presented her research with the Bronx African American History Project that examined the strategies developed by African immigrants to overcome challenges during their adjustment to life in the Bronx. Her lecture also highlighted the achievements and contributions of African immigrants to The Bronx and communities of origin in Africa.
The African American Experience in the Bronx:
Angel Hernandez, a dynamic educator and Bronx advocate, presented archival information on the social, political, and cultural contributions of African American communities in The Bronx dating back to the colonial period to today.

Contesting Cultural Appropriation and Gentrification in the South Bronx - The Bronx is Not For Sale:

1 woman 1 man seated. 1 woman speaker.
CASA organization tenant leaders, Fitzroy Christian and Carmen Vega-Rivera, a member of the Hostos Community College Foundation Board, provided an overview of their work to address inadequate housing conditions and safe housing with various state and citywide coalitions. They also delineated their current responses to the threat of gentrification in the South Bronx.
African Diaspora Dance Workshop:

dancers for African Diaspora Dance workshop taught by Maguette Camara
The final event allowed participants to get moving during a dynamic and energizing African Diaspora Dance workshop taught by Maguette Camara, a Bronx resident, recognized West African choreographer, musician, and instructor of all levels and ages at The Ailey School, Barnard College, Cathedral High School, and Battery Park City Parks Conservancy.

These events were possible thanks to the contributions of the Black Studies Unit, Black Student Union, Hip-Hop Club, Student Activities, Student Government Association, and the Student Leadership Academy. The Office of Academic Affairs sponsored this Black History Month 2016 program.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique Student Success Coaching Unit provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.

Named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.