Oct. 28 marked the start of Emory’s first Black Homecoming Week, which featured events hosted by various black student organizations and celebrated the empowerment and inclusivity of black diaspora culture at the University.
Madisyn Kenner (22C), vice president of Emory’s chapter of the NAACP, explained her reasoning for highlighting on-campus black culture with a week of events.
“I really wanted to bring that spirit of Black Homecoming to Emory’s campus because there was a lot of dissension [within the black community at] Emory specifically, and it felt as if we were excluded from the rest of Emory,” Kenner said. “This was my way of trying to bridge that gap and increase outreach from our community to everyone else, as well as increase the togetherness that we feel in our own community.”
The week was hosted by Emory NAACP, but many other student organizations collaborated in the events. These groups included the Black Student Alliance, African Student Association, Association of Caribbean Educators and Students, Goizueta Black Student Association, Caucus of Emory Black Alumni, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Multicultural Greek Council, Emory Running Club, Black Star*, Bloom and Black Mental Health Ambassadors.
Emory NAACP President Timothy Richmond (20C) and other members of NAACP organized Black Homecoming Week in hopes of fostering positivity within the Emory black community and for incoming black freshmen.
“We just noticed the lack of engagement with black culture on campus,” Richmond said. “[Indian Culture Exchange] had Diwali, several other cultural organizations had weeks of their own … so we wanted the same experience for black students.”
Black Homecoming Week included events such as a festival with bounce houses, games and food trucks, as well as a black business panel and mixer focused on navigating being black in business and entrepreneurship. A “HalloZeen Stepshow” commemorated Greek unity, inclusion and multiculturalism, while a culture clash event celebrated the African diaspora with a voter registration table and an Afro-punk organization. The week ended on Saturday with a showcase featuring various Atlanta talent, including Emory students.
Galia Pino (22C) attended a few of the events during the week and expressed appreciation for solidarity fostered through the gathering of different black organizations.
“I think [Black Homecoming Week] helped the black community to come together, bring different organizations with different goals, and people across all grade-levels to participate in a week that was beneficial but also fun for everyone,” Pino said.
Pino also noted the shortage of funding for black organizations on campus.
“I think [the events] could have been bigger and better, and that can definitely be attributed to a lack of funding a lot of the black [organizations] receive,” Pino said.
Kenner emphasized the importance of cultural representation within a diverse community, noting that the black community often lacks a united outlet for expression.
“[The black community is] already so small and it just didn’t make sense for us not to have a week celebrating our culture,” Kenner said. “A lot of times people just don’t know about your culture and it’s a great thing to do, to just present this to Emory. This is who we are, this is what we do, this is our culture.”
Nicole Sadek contributed reporting.