Art Design for the Black at Hostos Town Hall Series

The Office of the President of Eugenio María de Hostos is pleased to announce a timely three-part series open to the College campus, the CUNY community, and the College’s external stakeholders titled “Black at Hostos.” The town halls are scheduled for the 2021 Spring Semester. Titled “The Stories We Tell: Race in America,” “Becoming Jim Crow: A Long, Legal History,” and “We Too Sing America: From Experimentation to Participation,” the town halls are scheduled to take place February 17, March 9, and April 14, respectively.
In the wake of international calls for racial justice in 2020, student leaders at Hostos stood up and voiced their fears and hopes and demanded the College take a stand supporting Black Lives. In response, Interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis spearheaded a working group to address their concerns. Out of the students’ righteous cries, the Black at Hostos Town Halls series became a 2021 Spring Semester program. For the interactive workshops, presenters will lead in-depth discussions that center around the shared understanding of struggles, past and present, as well as the triumphant spirit of a people who continually call for America to live up to its highest ideals.
“The ‘Black at Hostos’ series aims to create space for dialogue, empowerment, and healing among our students, faculty, staff, and friends,” Interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis said. “While the town halls will not heal the enormity of the fractions of our nation’s history, the effort will bring together faculty from Hostos and Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC), two institutions close to my heart that grapple with similar issues of disenfranchisement and inequity. I stand by the notion that dialogue, sincerity, and vulnerability, opens our hearts, and through such encounters, we make effective and honest steps towards our advancement as people and a society, and that is an essential part of education.”
A valued colleague from Naugatuck Valley Community College, Professor Kathy Taylor, JD, has been invited to participate alongside Hostos Professor Kristopher Burrell, Ph.D., and facilitated by Assistant to the President and Director of the President's Office, Diana Kreymer. The series is a collaboration among administrators, and educators and scholars who devote their research and pedagogy to looking at history and the law, despite their painful truths, to empower students who have traditionally been excluded from equitable educational and cultural opportunities.
“The Stories We Tell: Race in America” will examine questions like, "Who is an American?," "Who gets to decide?," and "What factors shape that definition?" The discussion will cover three distinct periods in history—the Constitutional Convention, the Reconstruction Era, and the Civil Rights Era and help participants better understand and reckon with the centrality of the experiences of Black Americans to the development of the nation. Participants will be asked to define “Americanism,” “citizenship,” and who gets to claim, “the American Dream.”
A deeper analysis of the nation’s actions in “Becoming Jim Crow: A Long, Legal History” will analyze the long history of anti-Black racism and its codification in the laws of the United States. The presentation will journey through America's history, exploring the contradiction between our founding ideals of equality and freedom with the reality of human bondage, dehumanization, and laws that squarely subjugated and marginalized people of African descent.  And yet, we will celebrate the dignity and resiliency of a people that have continually survived and flourished.   
The series will close with “We Too Sing America: From Experimentation to Participation,” which will focus on a most timely and critical issue—the intersections of race, medicine, and healthcare in the United States. Detailing the country's long and reprehensible history of medical experimentation on Black Americans, the moderators will discuss the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and what it means for historically marginalized communities.
“‘Black at Hostos’ is a vehicle for dialogue and represents a critical exploration of the tangled web of America’s noblest values, contradictory racial realities, and the racism that stunts and destabilizes the core of American identity,” Professor Taylor explained. “Through examining long ago planted seeds of hate, we hope to bring forth a new, deeper, and richer awareness of where we fall short, so we move closer to making Hostos, and our America a more perfect union.”
Professor Burrell said the town hall series “represents the College’s continued commitment to affirming the value of Black lives.” He continued: “This series will present opportunities for the Hostos community to come together to engage in learning about the historical, legal, and social journey of people of African descent contributing to the development of the United States.”

“Black at Hostos” Series Schedule

The Stories We Tell: Race in America
February 17, 3-5 p.m.
Zoom link:
Becoming Jim Crow: A Long, Legal History
March 9, 3-5 p.m.
Zoom link:
We Too Sing America: From Experimentation to Participation
April 14, 3-5 p.m.
Zoom link: