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Join our Juneteenth Celebration! (560 hits)

Hello HBCU Connect,

Join the movement to remove racist Confederate Monuments. Please support and highlight these important black stories.

My name is Kenya Cummins, a recent graduate from Hampton University and incoming graduate student to Columbia University’s Master of Science in Strategic Communication program. I was honored to be a part of the HBCU Storytellers Project where I had the opportunity to contribute to a four-part film documentary series entitled 400 Years Later...Freeish that examined race relations in America as we approached the 400 year commemoration of the first Africans to arrive here in 1619.

Now, more than ever, the voices of Black people in this country are being amplified and heard. Working with a group of young creatives rooted in reclaiming the narrative of our history was deeply impactful. In addition to gaining experience researching and developing a film, visiting historical monuments, meeting with leaders of the MLK Commission and learning about the history of confederate statues has changed the way that I think about the history of this country and my place within it.

During the first few months of 2020 we were able to use the films to engage the community through various screenings and panel discussions throughout the country. An official selection of the 2020 Pan African Film Festival, 400 Years Later...Part 3 of our series Confederate Monuments: Heritage or Hatred highlights the various issues related to the removal of the Robert E Lee statue that sparked the 2017 unite the right rally in Charlottesville, VA. Our film explores the racial trauma and terror associated with these monuments while highlighting the work of youth leader, Zyahna Bryant, who sparked the movement to remove this monument through her organizing work that galvanized leaders and stakeholders across the country. As well as Bryan Stevenson founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and author / inspiration of the recent film Just Mercy.

Please join us in celebrating Junteenth this year by providing a virtual screening of this film followed by a panel discussion with Zyahna Bryant, the HBCU Storytellers and other community leaders involved in these efforts. Our goal is to inform our community about the recent bills that have been passed to finally remove these confederate monuments while encouraging and supporting a new generation of young leaders to participate in the movement for racial healing and reconciliation.

My parents met and graduated from Hampton University. It filled them with tremendous pride to have their first born attend their alma mater. We imagined that after four years of walking in their footsteps, one of the biggest days of my life -- graduation -- would be taken away. It is an opportunity to pause and think of the depth of what it means to leave a legacy. In the recent weeks, following the murder of George Floyd, our country has experienced a new kind of awakening to the importance of racial reconciliation. Each of us must take a place in this movement. My contribution to this documentary series has assured me that art is my activism.

Please find links to film trailers, event rsvp, and media press kit below. I invite you once more to join our celebration of Juneteenth!


Kenya Cummins
Hampton University - Class of 2020

* Media Press Kit | https://www.dropbox.com/home/MEDIA%20KIT%20_%20HBCU%20Storytellers%20Juneteenth%20Film%20Screening%20%26%20Forum

* RSVP Zoom Film Forum Eventbrite RSVP Link

* Film Trailer watch here (one minute) | https://vimeo.com/345790979

* 400 Years Later.. Series Preview w/ Storytellers Poet Nikos Hawkins watch here (five minutes)
Follow & Tag on Social Media @NateParkerFDN #HBCUStorytellers #400YearsLater #Freeish
Posted By: Kenya Cummins
Tuesday, June 16th 2020 at 1:05PM
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