UMD’s Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy organization hosted “Black Monologues” Wednesday evening in Hoff Theater, bringing in an audience of students, families and performers from diverse backgrounds.
“Black Monologues” was one part of a series of events known as the Maryland Dialogues on Diversity and Community that are for “faculty, staff, students and alumni to help advance discussions of identity, difference and commonality” according to UMD.
Senior sociology major Javon Goard says these events are necessary stepping-stones in achieving progress toward combating issues like racism, police brutality, sexism and discrimination, even if the events only draw a small crowd.
Goard believes it is necessary for people of all backgrounds to attend conversations and events that engage the community in racial dialogue.
“There has to be awareness, no matter your shade. Yes, it maybe called ‘Black Monologues’ but you don’t have to be black to be admitted, right? So as long as people feel like they are comfortable within this space no matter what their background is- racial, sexual orientation, it doesn’t matter,”he said.
Black performers, took the stage to sing, speak or rap about their own personal struggles and those that the entire black community faces.
Marissa Ceaser, a senior kinesiology major, told the audience about comments she has received that stereotype and discriminate against her identity as a black woman. She spoke in her poem as if others were questioning her race, “Marissa are you sure you are full black? Marissa, why do you talk so proper? Marissa, why does your hair poof up after you swim…My life consists of being too black or too white, so where the hell do I belong?”
Performers spoke not only of their obstacles of identifying as black in America, but also of their will to fight against a system that oppresses them.
Senior graphic design major Alexandra Finch created a project last year during the Baltimore riots and Wednesday, she recited a poem about the ongoing conflict between black people and the police force.
“And though I don’t condone the inflict of pain, we have endured more than a flick of pain that leaves us to fight with more than a flick of the tongue,” she read.
She grabbed hands of two friends beside her and sang, “Raise your hands because we haven’t lost the war.”
Opeyemi Owoeye, senior government and politics major also known as “O-Slice,” previewed two of her three part music video, Far From Over. She said that her music is raw but needs to be heard.
“I bring truth and I bring honesty and I just bring real life and I think that’s what people need and that’s what people like in the art that they consume.”
The university offers many speeches, activities and events for the purpose of creating a critical thinking and open environment to discuss campus and societal issues regarding race. February is dedicated to addressing problems within the black community in coordination with Black History Month. More events for this month and on can be found on http://umd.edu/MarylandDialogues/#events.