With: Student Member Shannon Smith (Media Studies)

Interviewer: Milano Communications Assistant Diari Dieye (GPIA)


DD: Please describe what you do for the New Black School.

SS: “I’m a student member of the organization. I help oversee general members, board members and coordinate events and activities that allow New Black School student to network and interact with people that share the same vision.”

DD: And what vision is that? What is New Black School’s mission?

SS: “Well, initially, the vision was to have a black space for graduate students within the New School. But, then we thought that we could build on that, reach out to more people. So we wanted to keep the idea of having space for the black grad students, but we also wanted to attract people who are down for black liberation, black lives matter, and any issues that affect the black community in society today.”

DD: When and how did New Black School emerge?

SS: “New Black School emerged in 2014 when Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye, Shannon Shird and Tolani Elumade, graduate students at the time, founded the organization. They felt that the student-led organizations on campus were good, but that graduate students of color needed their own space to connect with like-minded people within their age group (as opposed to undergrads.)”

DD: How has New Black School grown over the years?

SS: “It’s grown in that we’ve made more connections, especially with a conference we held back in April of 2015 called BAM2015- which stands for Building a Movement (against police brutality.) We really got our name out there, had more followers on our social media accounts, and began to build our membership. Inviting students from NYU, Columbia, CUNY schools, etc, also really helped expand our network.”

DD: What are New Black School’s future plans and goals?

SS: “Our number one goal is to get recruitment up. Recruitment becomes hard at the graduate level because of not only the limited amount of black students at the New School, but also our hectic lives and schedules that make it difficult to come together and develop our vision. We’re hoping to reach out to students of color through happy hours, brunches, social media and this interview!”

DD: What are some upcoming events students should be made aware of?

SS: “The Black Lives Matter symposium is coming in the Spring and we also hold monthly happy hours and plan on launching a monthly community service event geared towards assisting low-income families of color in need.”

DD: Where and when do you typically hold meetings?

SS: “General members typically meet once a month, so look out for an email about our next meeting. If people really want to be a part of this they’ll come!”


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