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By Megan Freeman, Sept. 14, 2021

“An Afternoon with Angela Davis” was held on Sept. 2, hosted  by CPP Fest where the revolutionary political activist discussed pressing issues such as the pandemic, racism, inequality and racist policing. 

Inspirational, iconic and poised are just some of the words attendees used to describe Angela Davis after attending CPP’s “An Afternoon with Angela Davis.” 

“Well for me, she’s a hero  of mine,” said Cheryl Love, career counselor and moderator of the event. “It is legends like Dr. Angela Davis that fuel, inspire and gives   me the energy to do the work I do, or as John Lewis would say, ‘to get into good trouble.’”  

Davis is a political activist, professor and author, having  written over 10 books throughout her lifetime. Her books examine topics such as gender, the prison system and race . 

The event was hosted through Zoom in a webinar-style  with Davis leading the conversation and two moderators maintaining the flow of the event by asking questions and actively listening to what Davis had to say. Attendees had access to a chat feature,  and they were able to applaud Davis while she spoke by typing the letter “C” in the chat box.  

The atmosphere and general feel of the event was uplifting, fun and exciting. Everyone was eager and ready to hear the knowledge Davis had to spread to the CPP community about important subjects such as critical race theory .  

“To be opposed to critical race theory is simply saying that we need to ignore the role that racism plays in our society, and (it) continues to move along paths that have been formulated and produced by white supremacy,” said Davis.  

According to Brookings, the recent controversy involving critical race theory involves the banning of teaching the topic in over eight schools across the United States. Those opposing the ban have argued it will hinder any chance of change or abolishing racism in this country. 

Davis strongly agrees with the opposition and states that racism lives and breathes in this society. She argues that systemic racism is alive and well in places like healthcare and the prison system.  

 Attendees expressed it was a privilege to be in the presence of Davis, even remotely. 

Davis talked about Cal Poly Pomona’s campus, stating it is on  indigenous Tongva land; she wanted the students of CPP to recognize this campus belongs to the Tongva tribe  and they have not received  any recognition from the government. 

Along with her deep discussion about the Tongva tribe, Davis offered  advice for new and returning Broncos.

“As you move along in your studies, remember to pay attention to the humanities as well,” said Davis. 

This was not Davis’  first time on CPP soil, as she talked to  CPP students back in 2016. La’Keisha Beard, the interim associate director  at the Office of Student Life & Cultural Centers and CPP Fest coordinator, was excited to have Davis speak again. 

“We thought that with a lot of the social unrest that has been going on the past year and a half that it would be timely for her to come and just kind of share her thoughts and ideas with our campus,” said Beard.

Davis has  a massive role in the social justice movement. She has been fighting “the good fight” for decades, and she has influenced and touched many people with her work as a Black Panther  and as a member of the Communist party . She was a huge part of the Civil Rights Movement, and she helped women and people of color through her activism . 

Davis marched in Birmingham to protest racial segregation amidst the Civil Rights Movement during her high school career. At this time, she was accepted into a program that placed Black students from the South into integrated schools in the North. The program was called “American Friends Service Committee.” 

“An Afternoon with Angela Davis,” presented the gift of Davis’ knowledge to the CPP community . 

“Try to be critical, recognize that none of us know everything and all of us can learn something from one another,” said Davis. “At the same time, recognize that there are conditions in this world that have been produced by capitalism, racial capitalism, by colonialism, slavery, that we will also have to address if we want to reach the point where we can truly engage critically with one another.” 

Feature image courtesy of Unseen Histories. 

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