FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, Ext. 1-5122
ROSA CLEMENTE OPENS SPEAKER SERIES ON SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES AT BERKELEY COLLEGE IN NEW YORK
Her Address Launches National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month;
See caption below.
Rosa Clemente, activist, scholar and political commentator, told her audience at Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan that individual narratives are only important in social justice work if they feed into the history of resistance. Ms. Clemente, of Puerto Rican parents, was born in the Bronx, NY, and grew up in Elmsford, NY, in Westchester County. She addressed students, faculty and staff at the first presentation of Storytellers: A Social Justice Speaker Series on September 18, 2017. The series provides a forum to reflect, relate and reimagine a more socially just world. The event kicked off activities celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Many people that look like us will never have the opportunity to be in these college buildings,” Ms. Clemente told the audience. “For those of us who come here, we have a responsibility. You can’t think you are leaving Flatbush or East Harlem to get away from your community.”
Ms. Clemente told her story about growing up in a smaller community when her parents relocated not too far away from the urban environment she was born into. She did not experience racism until she was in high school. At college, although she was academically prepared, she almost failed out the first semester, not knowing why. Racism – and how to deal with it – were too much to handle.
After a faculty member offered advice she started learning, toughened up, and got involved in campus organizations and activities as part of her work. She adopted her ethnicity and enrolled in her first black studies course. She ran for president of the Black Student Union and chose Black-American and Latina Studies as her major. To this day she still receives criticism from people of both ethnicities with which she identifies.
She is courageous in pointing out that three generations of not only African-American and Latino men – but also women – are being incarcerated. She understands and explained how we are living within a system that privileges whiteness and patriarchy, that is in part sustained by black and brown people, including women.
From Harvard to prisons, Ms. Clemente has dedicated her life to scholarly activism. Currently a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, she has been a constant on-the-ground presence through the many political struggles facing Black and Latino people in the 21st century. Her articles have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Village Voice, Essence, and The Huffington Post. In 2008, at 35 years of age, she became a U.S. vice presidential candidate representing the Green Party ticket along with Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. The pair became the first women-of-color ticket in American history.
Photo Captions A and B: Top: Rosa Clemente, activist and scholar, is the first presenter in “Storytellers: A Social Justice Speaker Series,” at Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan on September 18, 2017. The series aims for participants to reflect, relate and reimagine a more socially just world. Above: Berkeley College students and staff pose with Rosa Clemente of the Bronx, NY (seventh from right), an activist and scholar, and the first storyteller in a new speaker series designed for participants to reflect, relate and reimagine a more socially just world.
Storytellers: A Social Justice Speaker Series is presented by the Berkeley College Office of Student Development and Campus Life. The series features guests who share their own stories in hopes of inspiring others to do the same. It aims to promote self-awareness, foster cross-cultural dialogue, and empower an inclusive and socially just community at Berkeley College and beyond.
“We want participants to think critically about the historical context of social justice issues such as racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of oppression, while focusing on current social justice challenges and the interdisciplinary thought and leadership skills necessary for solving such challenges,” said LaTia Sinclair, Director of Multicultural & Community Affairs, Student Development and Campus Life, Berkeley College.
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 8,000 students – including more than 550 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are five campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
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