Shippensburg University’s Residence Hall Association (RHA)’s black culture in the U.S. Cultural Connection held an event on Nov. 29 in McFeely’s Coffeehouse titled “The Black Monologues.”
The Black Monologues was designed to give students, staff and faculty an opportunity to share their stories through the performance of original monologues.
The mood that was set in McFeely’s was serene, warm and welcoming. Music from the 1990s played in the background while guests were walking in.
Senior Joshua Smith, one of the seven presenters, spoke about racism within the black LGBT community.
“It started a conversation and it also brought information that people don’t know about [it] unless they are living it,” Smith said.
Guests showed that they were moved by the presentations by nodding their heads in agreement.
Sophomore RyAsia DeShields had a different approach. She shared a letter addressed to black men.
“It was basically about black stereotypes as men and how they can defeat themselves,” DeShields said.
“It wasn’t something that people of color don’t already know,” senior Jiyana Wright said. “I felt like tonight was needed for release for the individuals who took the stage and it is always good to know where another person is coming from.”
Drug and Alcohol Services Director Lavell Simpkins talked about having pride in being black.
“I love being black, every aspect about it,” Simpkins said in his monologue. “We don’t need Black Lives Matter to make me believe that black lives matter. We didn’t need a hashtag for you to confirm that.”
Kaz Sortino, a graduate student and McCune Hall residence director, spoke about white privilege in America.
“I think a lot about the fact that nobody has ever clutched their purse when I have walked in a space, there’s privilege in that,” Sortino said.
“I think the Black Monologues was a great experience and it opened people’s eyes, especially when talking about privilege in America,” senior Erica McKinnon said.
David Brown, supervisor of the event, explained that the Black Monologues is a wonderful space for students to share their experiences thus far in and outside of SU.
“This type of programming is extremely necessary so students understand that they matter,” Brown said. “I’m grateful that the RHA sees a need for this level of programming and is actively working to ensure that all students are noticed and their voices are heard.”
The next event that the black culture in the U.S. Cultural Connection will host is Feb. 28 in Harley Hall’s Multipurpose Room at 7 p.m.