Listening to Africa

Behind the scenes of Yale’s first Africa Salon

Students at Yale’s Africa Salon Early on a Saturday morning in March, I found myself surrounded by African artists, speakers, and performers in the basement of the Afro-American Cultural Center. We ate Egyptian salad and South African banana bread for breakfast, and we didn’t talk much. I assumed that the others were nervous, like me, and thinking over what they were going to say. We were preparing to participate in the Africa Salon, billed as “Yale’s first-ever contemporary African arts fest.” A month or so. . . Read more
Coryna Ogunseitan
When A Cop Calls

An activist in blue bridges the gap between communities and police.

Shafiq Abdussabur with his grandmother after being sworn in as president of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers. Photo by Allan Appel. On a Tuesday afternoon in September, Shafiq Abdussabur stands transfixed by one image on the wall of his office. It’s a hazy photograph of six boys playing tug-of-war, their smiles wide, their eyes focused on victory. “We lost him,” Abdussabur says, pointing to the boy leading the pack. “He was killed two years after this photo was taken. And him, too,”. . . Read more
Alexandra Golden
Ten Years

A young woman of Indian heritage remembers September 11, 2001.

I knew something was wrong with the way the kids in my carpool looked at the turbaned man behind the counter of the gas station in Atlanta, Ga., my hometown. I also knew he was Sikh and Punjabi—from India, like my parents—by the long, uncut beard and the turban he wore and the lively bhangra dance music playing behind the counter. He was Sikh, like Balbir Singh Sodhi, who owned a gas station in Mesa, Ariz., and who was shot to death on Sept. 15, 2001.. . . Read more
Sanjena Sathian
Gray Matter

Overcoming Yale students’ racial biases.

We in the Ivy League like to think of ourselves as progressive: our schools offer the best financial aid packages, record some of the highest minority enrollment, and frequently produce research at the vanguard of a variety of social issues. Lately, Yale has placed particular focus on overcoming racial barriers. In 2007, President Richard Levin asked the incoming freshman class to read Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race. Tatum, who also. . . Read more
Haley Cohen
Room for Debate

The Great Debate between Yale and Howard University, an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

On a cold night at the end of March, Woolsey Hall is packed.  In the rotunda of one of Yale’s oldest and most storied buildings stands a menagerie of young children with their teachers and parents, clusters of college students, and a few scattered older adults waiting to go in.  They are mostly well-dressed—the men in suits, some women in fancy hats— and they are mostly black.  They had come, according to 2006 Democratic senatorial candidate, Honorary Chair of the debate, and tonight’s guest speaker,. . . Read more
Sarah Nutman