Community Roots hosted its third annual “Know Your Roots” event Nov. 12. Packed with dance performances, live music and poetry, it was definitely an occasion you did not want to miss.
The lineup showcased a variety of art from culturally driven clubs on campus: Afrochique, Avirah, the Maryland Latin Dance Club, Ethnobeat, Vagina Monologues and the Hip Hop Orchestra.
Senior studio arts major Frank Abbott, who live-painted a piece during the event, said he was inspired by the skin tones and cultures represented not only in the performances, but in audience members as well.
As dinner was served, those in attendance were encouraged by executive board members to introduce themselves to people they did not know, share cultural experiences and tweet selfies with new friends throughout the event under the hashtag #KYR15.
Community Roots, a club that started out tutoring at local schools, has transformed into a student activist organization that aims to help students make sense of their world by getting to the root of themselves and their communities.
“History repeats itself…and everyone wants to find a solution but you can’t find a solution without talking about the problem first,” says junior Darien Ellis, an English major minoring in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Ellis, one of the many students filing into the Grand Ballroom at Stamp Student Union last Thursday, was eager to hear social change activist Angela Davis’ perspective on present day issues.
Senior electrical engineering major Abriana Stewart-Height says she was hoping for a lesson from Davis on how new activists can have a physical presence in today’s movements, rather than just being present on social media.
Davis’ speech, an installment in the University of Maryland’s Voices of Social Change series, touched on Stewart-Height’s comment when she emphasized that the intellectual work that students are doing at universities everywhere has to be in compliance with the practical work of protesting and organizing. She advised students to stay motivated. “The struggle is a protracted one that is not going to end after two weeks, two months or two years,” said Davis.
Another point Davis made was how the focus of conversations surrounding social change today is diversity when in the past, conversations were about broader ideas such as freedom and justice. “[Diversity] is difference that doesn’t make a difference at all,” said Davis. “We need to find a way to strengthen the notion of diversity and add justice to diversity.” Continue reading Political activist Angela Davis talks social change at UMD→