Progressive Pupil at Black Portraitures “Color of Silence” Conference

Dr. Robin J. Hayes, Creative Director of Progressive Pupil, will share updates about two of our projects at the internationally acclaimed Black Portraitures Conference at Harvard University. This year’s conference, which coalesces artists, activists and scholars together to discuss images of Black bodies in mainstream art, focuses on “The Color of Silence.” Tiphanie Yanique, prize-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning, will join Dr. Hayes on a panel to discuss their television series Fortune Bay. UC Berkeley professor and author Dr. Leigh Raiford will discuss her collaboration with Hayes on their new multi-platform project Inside Exile: Kathleen Neal Cleaver and her Black Panther Family. Dr. Courtney Baker of Occidental College will moderate. The conference is free and open to the public.

How to Accept Help (if You’re Black)

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Berkeley Student Kashawn Campbell. photo by Bethany Mollenkof. courtesy Los Angeles Times
Berkeley Student Kashawn Campbell. photo by Bethany Mollenkof. courtesy Los Angeles Times

“How do you get students to accept help?” a teacher asked me.

She was one of a diverse group of dedicated, intelligent young educators who help high school students from smaller income neighborhoods attend college. During our recent conversation, it was mentioned that some of their most hard-working and focused students arrive at a university, confront challenges with course work and then—heartbreakingly—refuse to seek or take advantage of help that is available.

They are so determined to do it on their own, her colleague explained, “because they want to help their families.” These educators’ compassionate concerns and the heavy burden their students are carrying stayed with me. When a teacher asked me, “How did you manage to get the help you needed?” I realized that during my entire career as an African American, working-class, queer woman student (Pre-K through PhD) I never did.