Monday, July 22, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor at Simon’s Rock; ‘Being Black in the Berkshires’; Williams College French Film Festival; LitNet seeks volunteer tutors

In her lecture, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor will give historical context to the Combahee River Collective’s groundbreaking work and how it informs present-day social movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor to deliver W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture

Great Barrington — Bard College at Simon’s Rock will welcome author and Princeton University professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Ph.D., to give the annual W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Daniel Arts Center.

Forty years ago, the Combahee River Collective created the concept of identity politics as a way to understand how African-Americans experience and resist oppression. In her lecture, Taylor will give historical context to the Combahee River Collective’s groundbreaking work and how it informs present-day social movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Taylor is an assistant professor in the African-American studies department at Princeton University as well as the author of “How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective” and “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.” She has published articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Paris Review, the Guardian and the Nation. She was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book as well as the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ nonfiction. Her third book, “Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s,” is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.

In 2017 Taylor co-authored a call to mobilize a women’s strike, which culminated in the Day Without a Woman actions on March 8, International Women’s Day. In 2016, she was named one of the 100 most influential African-Americans in the United States by the Root. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Northwestern University, Princeton University and the Lannan Foundation. She has been appointed as a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians for 2018–19, and the Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor at Princeton University for 2018–21.

The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing. For more information, contact Bard College at Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or


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Multicultural BRIDGE to present panel discussion ‘Being Black in the Berkshires’

Frances Jones-Sneed, Ph.D. Photo courtesy Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Great Barrington — Multicultural BRIDGE and Saint James Place will present the panel discussion “Being Black in the Berkshires” Monday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Saint James Place. The event will feature a panel of leaders and scholars from the black community in the Berkshires who will address the stories that are not being told and the voices that are not being heard. Audience questions will be encouraged so as to facilitate an open discussion.

NAACP Berkshire Bounty Branch President Dennis Powell. Photo: Terry Cowgill

The panel will be moderated by Alfred K. Enchill, district aide in the Berkshire County office of Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, and feature participants Shirley Edgerton, M.Ed., cultural competency coach, founder and director of the Rites of Passage and Empowerment program, and director of the Youth Alive Step, Dance and Drum Band; Eden-Reneé Hayes, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and dean of equity and inclusion at Bard College at Simon’s Rock; Frances Jones-Sneed, Ph.D., professor of history and former director of women studies at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams; and Dennis Powell, president of the NAACP Berkshire County Branch, member of the Pittsfield School Committee and the steering committees of the Four Freedoms Coalition and the the W. E .B. Du Bois Educational Series in Great Barrington, and board vice-chair of Clinton Church Restoration.

The event is free and open to the public. Childcare and snacks will be provided. For more information, contact Multicultural BRIDGE at (413) 394-4305 or


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Williams’ French film festival to highlight coming-of-age films

A still from ‘The Man by the Shore.’ Image courtesy Williams College

Williamstown — The 2019 Williams College French Film Festival will take place over three consecutive at 7 p.m. on the Mondays of Feb. 11, 18 and 25 at Images Cinema. This year’s theme is “Transitions: Coming of Age in French and Francophone Adolescent Film.” Traditionally, coming of age films bring into focus the psychological or moral growth of a male protagonist. The films in this year’s edition help redefine the coming-of-age story by privileging the perspectives of girls and young women whose experiences trouble expressions of identity, longing and belonging.

In “The Man by the Shore” (1993) by Raoul Peck, an adult Haitian woman parses memories of her childhood as an 8-year-old during the François Duvalier dictatorship. “Tomboy” (2011) by Céline Sciamma is the story of a 9-year-old girl, Laure, whose family moves to a new home in the Parisian suburbs where she decides to pretend to be a boy. “Polina” (2015) by Angelin Preljocaj and Valérie Müller is about a promising classical ballet dancer just about to join the Bolshoi Ballet when she discovers contemporary dance.

The films are free and open to the public. For more information and a full schedule of films, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.


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LitNet seeks volunteer tutors

Lee — The Literacy Network of South Berkshire is seeking new volunteer tutors to work with adult learners in Berkshire County. LitNet will soon begin its winter session of new tutor training in English for Speakers of Other Languages. The three-part series will introduce volunteers to the organization’s mission and offer comprehensive strategies for working with adult English language learners. Each session will run from 4 to 6 p.m. and will take place Monday, Feb. 25; Thursday, Feb. 28; and Tuesday, March 5, at the Lee Library.

No prior teaching experience is necessary. Ongoing training and support for tutors is provided. For more information or to register, call (413) 243-0471.



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