Digital Diaspora Family Reunion was invited for a special Black History Month kickoff event at the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale University. The Center saw our DDFR Roadshow as a way to build community and celebrate our shared values and experiences, particularly after the turbulence on Yale campus the previous fall. The Yale New Haven communities were invited to bring a photograph to share and add their stories to the new community family album that we are building at Yale, our Digital Diaspora Family Reunion: 1Yale1Family project in partnership with the Afro-American Cultural Center. There was so much more that united us than divided us and this special event helped to celebrate those connections. This event explored the construction of identity and community through photography and storytelling, which is especially pertinent to the theme of Black History Month 2016 at the cultural center: “Roots, Rebirth and Renaissance.”
“Black History Month to me is family and community. No matter what, you have this shared legacy with people that you may or may not know. And you always have that idea of this is where we’ve been, where we are, and this is where we can all go. It has to be together.” – Malik F. Gerdes (l.)
“So we are in the Afro American Cultural Center, we call it “the house” at Yale University – a place that was built through the activism of students about 37 years ago. And this Digital Diaspora event is kicking off Black History Month celebration at Yale, so I actually think this is great. This is a place steeped in history and the photographs are about creating history.” – Dean Jonathan Holloway
Yale sophomore Akintunde Ahmad (above) at the Afro-American Cultural Center shared a photo he took with his brother, Azeem, who was in federal prison at the time. The experience helped Akintunde to see that this small setback was only preparing him and his brother for a big comeback!
“…let us learn from our history and create our own community. Today is a way of reconnecting even if unexpected to ourselves….”
– Rise Nelson, Director of Afro American Cultural Center