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Legacy of Trailblazer Shirley Chisholm TC’51 Highlighted at Annual Speaker Series

Legacy of Trailblazer Shirley Chisholm TC ’51 Highlighted at Annual Speaker Series

Nov. 16, 2015

Shirley Chisholm TC’51 (center) announced her groundbreaking presidential candidacy, supported by celebrities like actor Ossie Davis (right).


“What would it mean if President Obama or Hillary Clinton evoked Shirley Chisholm’s name?” asks Zinga A. Fraser Ph.D., the new director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, “because, in many ways, she not only paves the way for them, she provides a trajectory and strategy on how to create political coalitions that cross boundaries.”

Fraser, a former endowed post-doctoral fellow in women’s and gender studies and recipient of the American Political Science Association‘s 2014 Byran Jackson Dissertation Research on Minority Politics Award, has organized this year’s Shirley Chisholm Day talk, held on Nov. 17 in the Penthouse of the Brooklyn College Student Center. The keynote address will be delivered by Robin Kelley, the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at the University of California-Los Angeles. The annual event celebrates the legacy of Shirley Chisholm ’46, who became the first major-party black candidate for president of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“She provides what Professor Kelley identifies as ‘the freedom dream’—that is, how we can reimagine and understand freedom, despite the outcome,” adds Fraser.

Chisholm’s memoir Unbought and Unbossed details her grassroots, community-building efforts among a wide variety of constituencies, including blacks, whites, Latinos, lower-income and middle-class families, women across demographics, and the LGBT community. Her work with the last group, Fraser says, was ahead of its time and often overlooked by scholars. It also illustrates how difficult forging these alliances can be, even in a place like Brooklyn, which, according to Fraser, has one of the highest numbers of black women elected to public office in the country.

Zinga A. Fraser, PhD IRAAS ’05

Chief among her responsibilities, Zinga A. Fraser, Ph.D., the new director of the Brooklyn College Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, is looking forward to promoting Chisholm’s continued importance to Brooklyn and beyond.


“Chisholm also tells us a great deal about the possibility and importance of learning from political failures,” says Fraser. “As much as her story is about the aspirational, groundbreaking work that she did, it’s also about the constraints in coalition building. In the end, it wasn’t her ability to connect these groups, but the inability of these groups to work together for a common cause. But even in her failure to get various coalitions to work collectively, she provides us with some of the playbook that would later be utilized by our current president.”

This semester is Fraser’s first as director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, whose archive, housed at the Brooklyn College Library, is the world’s largest for Chisholm-related artifacts. Fraser took over the role from Barbara Winslow and is very excited about the efforts to raise Chisholm’s profile as a central and influential figure in the contemporary political landscape.

“The goal is to connect Chisholm’s legacy to present-day conversations around race, gender, politics and social and economic inequality. Moreover, I hope to place Chisholm and her legacy in context with current issues that impact the Brooklyn communities she supported,” says Fraser. “That is why we have had a wide array of speakers both national and local. So part of her legacy is the political empowerment of marginalized communities, as well as providing a model for political accountability. She advocated for those considered invisible by politicians and the media.”

Fraser is currently writing a book that is a comparative study of Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, as well as other black women political figures, in the context of examining their political genius, the different strategies they used to affect change, and how they negotiated the intersections of racism, misogyny, and sexism. Fraser also hopes to raise awareness and funds to accomplish things like bolstering the archive, creating paid internships that will allow students to work on Chisholm-related projects and conferences and perhaps even financing scholarships in Chisholm’s name.

To learn more about Shirley Chisholm and the work of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism, please visit the project’s website. See the Brooklyn College calendar for details about the Shirley Chisholm Day event.


Source: Brooklyn College

Columbia Joins White House Research Initiative to Advance Equity for Women and Girls of Color

November 13, 2015
Farah Jasmine Griffin, Alondra Nelson White House Women Equality Columbia University

English and African American Studies Prof. Farah Jasmine Griffin (left) and Dean of Social Sciences Alondra Nelson

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Nov. 13, 2015) — Columbia University has become a founding member of the White House-sponsored Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research, a national effort to engage colleges, universities and other mission-driven organizations in meaningful action to support research and improve public policy regarding women and girls of color. Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies and Dean of Social Sciences for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Alondra Nelson will lead Columbia’s participation together with Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies.

Today, the White House Council on Women and Girls, in collaboration with the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, is hosting a day-long forum on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color, focused on empowering and increasing opportunity for women and girls of color and their peers. The Council on Women and Girls also released a progress report, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” as a follow up to the 2014 report, and announced independent commitments to close opportunity gaps faced by women and girls, including women and girls of color.

“We are proud to work with the White House in applying Columbia’s deep expertise and commitment to addressing the most challenging issues facing our society including realizing the promise of equal opportunity and social justice,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger. “The new Collaborative to Advance Equity for Women and Girls of Color through Research will have an enthusiastic group of partners at Columbia and we’re grateful that Dean Alondra Nelson and Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin have taken on a leadership role.”

Dean Nelson, an authority on the sociology of science and medicine, is author of the forthcoming book The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome.

“Columbia will be a great partner in this initiative of the White House Council on Women and Girls,” said Nelson. “Ongoing and new research and programming here about women and girls of color will contribute to a critical public policy dialogue about barriers to racial and gender equality and will be a catalyst for change.”

Professor Griffin, an expert on American and African American literature, music, history and politics, is most recently author of Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II.

“Faculty and students across Columbia are already engaged in a range of efforts to advance equity for women and girls of color,” said Griffin. “As part of an iconic and diverse community in New York City, we are in an ideal position to bring not only our scholarship but also our first-hand experience to collaborating with the Obama administration and our academic colleagues around the nation.”

Among Columbia’s contributions to the collaborative will be a conference this coming spring on issues of concern to African American girls organized by Griffin and Carla Shedd, assistant professor of Sociology and African American Studies. The meeting of scholars, activists, artists, and girls will be sponsored by the Office of the President, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Social Science, and the Institute for Research in African American Studies, with support from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality.

Next summer, the Division of Social Sciences will continue a “Feminist Seminar for Girls” launched last summer by Dean Nelson in partnership with the YWCA of New York City.

About Columbia University
Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the university to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

Source: Columbia University Press Release, Diversity



THURSDAY, APRIL 07, 2016 5:00PM to SATURDAY, APRIL 09, 2016

                                                                                                                                                        Photo by Lorenshay Hamilton age 16April 7- 9, 2016

“Black Girl Movement: A National Conference” is a three-day gathering at Columbia University in New York City to focus on Black girls, cis, queer, and trans girls, in the United States.   Bringing together artists, activists, educators, policymakers, and black girls leaders themselves, this first national conference on Black girls seeks to address the disadvantages that Black girls in the United States face, while creating the political will to publicly acknowledge their achievements, contributions, and leadership.
Black girls are among the most significant cultural producers, community connectors, and trendsetters, rarely are their contributions recognized or appreciated. At best, they remain invisible in our public discourse or people assume that all Black girls are doing fine and are “resilient” enough to overcome any structural obstacles put in their way. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Black girls in the United States are in crisis. They face significant barriers to educational achievement, economic and political equality, and are the recipients of deeply embedded racial and gender biases in the media, public policy, philanthropy, and research.
As a result, the planning of this conference has been done by an intergenerational and cross-institution coalition because the most innovative work being done on and with black girls often are in silos and without the full benefits of a collaboration, funding, and public visibility.  “Black Girl Movement” is an opportunity change that reality through raising public consciousness, advancing research, policy, and community programming, and developing a resource sharing platform.  Most importantly, this conference will highlight Black girls’ agency and ingenuity in order to elevate their voices and solutions toward improving the life outcomes of Black girls in the United States.





12:15PM TO 2:00PM

Center for Race, Philosophy & Social Justice Speaker Series
Lawrence Blum, University of Massachusetts
Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education and Professor of Philoshopy
Visiting Professor, Teachers College

Lawrence Blum is Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the author of “I’m Not a Racist, But…”: The Moral Quandary of Race (Cornell 2002), selected as best social philosophy book of the year by the North American Society for Social Philosophy, and High Schools, Race, and America’s Future: What Students Can Teach Us About Morality, Diversity, and Community (Harvard Education Press 2012). Professor Blum has been a visiting professor at Stanford School of Education, UCLA, Rhodes University in South Africa, and is currently a visiting professor at Teachers College in the Philosophy and Education Program

**Note: No paper to be distributed in advance**

Location:  758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Columbia University, Morningside Campus






6:00PM TO 7:30PM

Associate Professor of African and African American Studies, Fordham University.
‘Your Obedience Will Protect You’ and Other Myths of Black Girlhood

Aimee Meredith Cox, PhD  is a cultural anthropologist and movement artist who teaches in the African and African American Studies department at Fordham University. She is the author of Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke 2015) and the forthcoming edited volume, Gender & Space (MacMillan). She has written peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on performance, race and gender in youth culture, and the politics of cultural production. Aimee is a former professional dancer who toured widely with Ailey II/The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble. She is the founder of BlackLight, a young women of color-led activist art initiative that produced community-based projects in Detroit, Newark, and New York City.

Location: Columbia University, Morningside Campus
754 Shermerhorn Ext. (Seminar Room)
Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality (IRWGS)


HireNYC Career Fair Monday 11/9/15

HireNYC Career Fair Monday 11/9/15


HIRENYC 2015 offers job seekers the ultimate opportunity of finding their next career.  Whether you’re looking for a new career in education, investment banking, marketing, technology, media, consulting, health care, sales, government and non-profit, you will find all the best employers at HIRENYC.


New York University (Host), Adelphi University, Baruch College, Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Florida State University, Fordham University, Hofstra University, Hunter College, Lafayette College, LIU Post, Mercy College, Molloy College, NYIT, Northeastern University, Pace University, Saint Francis College, St. Johns University, SUNY – New Paltz, SUNY – Binghamton, The Cooper Union, Vassar College, Webster University along with dozens of other top universities from around the country.

If you are interested in being an employer, please click here

Any Questions, please contact Kelly Grunther @

Have questions about HireNYC Career Fair? Contact Hire Talent

NYC Social Event from Denaka 11/7/15

We have an announcement from Denaka about an upcoming social event in Brooklyn:
Hey IRAAS Alumni Fam!
The temps may be falling outside but you’re cordially invited to TURN UP in Brooklyn this weekend at The “A” Game: A Brooklyn Spades & Day Party hosted by Denaka CC ’04.This good old-fashioned card party features all of your favorite card games — spades, gin, war and UNO — at the Brooklyn Tap House this Saturday, November 7th. Door prizes plus great food and drink specials will be offered. DJ Monday Blue will be spinning classic 80’s/90’s R&B so there will be plenty dancing for non-card players, too! Bring your friends, bring your appetites, and of course, bring your “A” game! 
Registration is FREE by Thursday November 5th, and $5 thereafter or at the door. 
Hope to see you there!

Alumni Council Meeting 11/20/15


The next IRAAS Alumni Council meeting will be held on Friday, November 20 at 7pm in our usual spot: the IRAAS seminar room, located in 758 Schermerhorn Extension on Columbia campus.

Please RSVP to this email by Sunday, November 15, if you plan on attending. Hope to see you there.

Also, feel free to email us at if you have agenda items, announcements, etc.\

E-mail us for conference call details.