First Sankofa Community Conversation Welcomes Mel King to Heller

December 14, 2017

panel with Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Christian Perry, Mel King and Maria Madison
Left to right: Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Christian Perry, Mel King and Maria Madison

On December 6, the Heller School held the first Sankofa Community Conversation, a new event series hosted by the office of the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (AD DEI). The series name, "Sankofa," is drawn from the Twi language of Ghana, and encourages us to "remember the past to prepare for the future."

In that spirit, the first Sankofa event brought together Heller faculty, staff, alumni and guests to discuss social justice and change movements in years past as well as efforts ongoing today. The panel was hosted by Professor Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and AD DEI Maria Madison, and welcomed two guests: Mel King, a politician, writer, community organizer and senior lecturer emeritus of MIT; and alumnus Christian Perry, MA SID/MBA'17. 

panel event featuring Joel Cutcher Gershenfeld, Christian Perry, Mel King and Maria Madison
Left to right: Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Christian Perry, Mel King and Maria Madison

The public panel conversation explored King's legacy of activism in the Boston area, including his work with the 1968 Tent City protests in Boston and the South End Technology Center, which he founded. The conversation then turned to Perry's experiences as a former Heller School student involved with the 2015 Ford Hall protests at Brandeis University. The event was followed by an optional small-group discussion with the panelists for students and staff who were interested in continuing the conversation. The next Sankofa Community Conversation is scheduled for January 2018. 

This event was supported by a Faculty Diversity Grant awarded to Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld from the Office of the Brandeis University Provost. Faculty Diversity Grants fund public lectures, symposia and workshops that contribute to university-wide conversations on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and which are open to the entire Brandeis community.

Watch a video of the full event below:

Media Contact

The Heller School welcomes media inquiries on this and all other news items. Email  Bethany Romano or call 781-736-3961.

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