Categorized | Features

QPoC, MOH host campus discussion with activist Kai M. Green

Robyn Newcomb
Features Editor

On Thursday, Nov. 30, student groups Men of Harambee (MOH) and Queer People of Color (QPoC) brought activist Kai M. Green to Gault Schoolhouse for an engaging talk about black feminism and the multifaceted experiences of marginalized identities in America.

Green — an activist, writer, poet, filmmaker and professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Williams College — placed a focus on engaging with the audience throughout the event that he described as being somewhere between a talk, a play, a game or a poem. Green began by introducing himself to and shaking the hand of every member of the audience, then asked them to rearrange their chairs in the form of a circle for a more conversation-oriented talk.

Derrius Jones ’18, president of MOH, felt that one of the impacts of the event was to bring a “new dynamic” of speakers to campus. “Dr. Green was very personal and engaging with the students,” said Jones. “Dr. Green is big on reflection, and for almost every question he was asked, he asked the person what they thought of it first.”

The talk seamlessly merged elements of research, poetry, memoir and cultural and literary reference as Green wove beautifully back and forth throughout each. “Students were thoroughly engaged in conversation as Dr. Green shared passages of his upcoming memoir as well as narratives from his activist work as a black transman and his academic production on the intersection of blackness and queerness,” commented Marina Adams ’18, co-president of QPoC.

The memoir elements of Green’s reading highlighted the role of gender, family, religion, the prison system, capitalism and education in his experience as a trans person of color in America. His broader discussion focused largely on broadening one’s perspective of what family means and on the importance of self-love towards the ability to love others.

“If you don’t know how to love yourself, don’t love me like you love you. Love me better. But love you better first,” said Green, reading from his work.

Green’s discussion laid at a powerful and effective intersection of the personal and the political. Jones noted, “[Green] gave a lot of context to who he was as a transperson of color and becoming not just a transactivist but also a feminist, and an advocate for Blackness, which I think allowed the audience to humanize him and feel comfortable asking him questions.”

The talk marked an important step in the right direction of inclusivity for Wooster, where the needs and perspective of students with marginalized identities are not adequately centered in campus conversation.

“Bringing speakers like Dr. Green to campus, I think, contributes to the confidence of some of the unheard or unvocalized identities on campus,” said Jones, speaking to the importance of the night’s event.

“Dr. Green’s presence on campus speaks to a demand for speakers who can engage with the intersectional identities which make up our student body,” added Adams. “[QPoC and MOH] hope to continue to bring to campus speakers, poets and performers who can engage students to the fullness of our diversity.”

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