In solidarity, Naropa University honors Black Futures Month 2023, centering our focus on Black Lives, Black Love, Black Ancestry, and Black Resistance. Historically, February celebrates Black History, but at Naropa and in a growing number of organizations, we honor this month by both holding the past and vividly imagining into the future. Kenyan philosopher, John Mbiti states, “the ancestors are not absent in the present, but rather contemporary.” The celebration of Black Futures claims space both past and present to assert the thriving future of Black lives generations from now.
Resmaa Menakem, healer, therapist, and licensed clinical social worker who specializes in the healing of racialized trauma along with founder of The Nap Ministry, Tricia Hersey invoke practices of Black Resistance. Afrofuturism blends and also centers on Black philosophy, science, the arts, and ancestry to embody spaces where hope and imagination provide pathways to liberation. Black Love as resistance and Black Love Day which is celebrated on February 13th was created in 1993 by Ayo Handy Kendi, and author and breathwork practitioner to amplify Love in all of its expressions: Love for the Creator, Love for Self, Love for Family, Love with the Black community, and Love for Black people.
This year’s Black History month theme of Black Resistance seems especially relevant given the tragedy and death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, and the ongoing attacks on the Black transgender community. More than ever each of us is being called to confront and resist the systems, institutions, and rhetoric that continue to devalue Black Lives and Futures.
In Boulder, ‘Reimagining Policing’ is an initiative led by the Boulder City Council and City Administration to call in community members for feedback on public safety. The City of Boulder established a Police Oversight Panel as result of community feedback. This process started on the heels of a March 2019 incident involving, Zayd Atkinson a former Naropa student, who was confronted by a now-disgraced member of the Boulder Police Department and several other officers. Saturday, February 4, 2023, from 3pm-6pm we shared this story with a film screening of THIS is [NOT] Who We Are in the Performing Arts Center (PAC). Zayd Atkinson, now a Naropa Alumnx and the primary subject in the film, and Katrina Miller, the Director, joined us for a Q&A session afterward.
As we amplify Black Resistance and Black Love this month, we hope that you will join us for BIPOC Centered offerings in celebration of Black Futures including these exciting Beloved Community Gatherings:
The Black Mind in Context with Naropa Alumnx and Grad Professor of Psychology, Anthony Gallucci Wednesday, February 8th, in the Cultural Center and virtually via Zoom from 12:00pm-1:30pm
We will explore White Male Allyship with Ancestral Futures Wednesday, February 15th. At Nalanda 9248 in a fishbowl dialogue exploring the importance of inclusion and allyship of white male-identified bodies with the ancestral futures movement, featuring faculty and staff from Naropa. This event is open to everyone with a shared interest in witnessing positive white male-identified allies in our community.
Deepen your exploration with an “Afrofutures Weekend Workshop” taught by Interdisciplinary Professor Ramon Parish and Vice President of Mission Culture & Inclusive Community Regina Smith, online Friday, February 17 (in the evening) and Saturday & Sunday February 18th & 19th (9am-5pm MT). For details about the course visit your student course plan and search COL-299E – C (prSCOL-299E) – The course is available for credit or audit.
With a commitment to love, solidarity, and Black Futures, we hope to celebrate with you in Beloved Community. Never forget that,
“Justice is what love looks like in public, just like tenderness is
what love feels like in private,” – Dr. Cornel West
Watch this awe-inspired film dedicated to Black Futures month by M4BL Presents Black Futures: An Ode to Freedom Summer
If you are in need of additional support, we encourage you to connect with Naropa counselors or with Naropa’s office of Mission, Culture, and Inclusive Community (MCIC) MCIC@naropa.edu.
Additional resources can be found below:
- The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – Call 988
- Colorado Crisis Services – Call 1-844-493-TALK or text TALK to 38255
- Mental Health Partners’ Walk-In Crisis Center is open in Boulder 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 3180 Airport Rd. Boulder, CO