On Monday, November 9, 2015, Rosa Clemente visited Trinity College to present her talk entitled, “Thinking Critically about #blacklivesmatter”. Current and former students, faculty, and staff gathered in Smith House to hear Clemente, who is a nationally-known, Black Puerto Rican organizer, journalist, and entrepreneur.
Using the “Ferguson Moment” as a reference point, she focused her message of thinking and organizing critically for the current Trinity students. She reflected on past success and challenges in activism, scholarship; and she urged students to become active in whatever space, position, or situation they found themselves. She reminded students that there is always work to be done for racial, economic, and social justice.
In clear, real talk, Clemente was most eloquent in speaking about vulnerability in activism. Quoting the assassinated Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, she reminded students that “you dare to struggle, you dare to win”. In other words, despite the risks, activism – minor and major – opens up possibilities that were not there before.
She also talked about her own love for activism, working to find balance in her life, and the importance of being open about mental health struggles. Her openness and insight made it feel like we were in the living room of an aunt or titi (as she mentioned a few times) and listening to the sharp wisdom that you can’t hear outside of a familiar space. Like an aunt’s house, the crowd listened for nearly three hours into the night with new insights and unresolved questions.
The evening was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Multicultural Affairs Council of the Student Government Association at Trinity College.