The Fielding community is invited to the Black Student Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Movie Night on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, at 7 p.m. PST during the School of Psychology’s 2023 January Global Session at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. 

The event, sponsored by the Offices of the Provost and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, will feature a showing of the “13th” documentary and a panel discussion. According to Netflix, where the documentary is available for streaming, “13th” is a “thought-provoking documentary” in which “scholars, activists, and politicians analyze the criminalization of African-Americans and the U.S. prison boom.” It will take place after the BSA community-wide meeting at 6 p.m. PST. 

The panel discussion will be moderated by Nathan Smith, third-year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student and the Sergeant in Arms for BSA. Dr. Anthony Greene, a clinical psychology faculty member at Fielding, as well as other to-be-announced panelists, will lead the conversation after the documentary. 

“The documentary talks about the statistics, specifically centered on African-American men,” said Shania Greenwood, MS, LCPC (MD), doctoral student, Marie Fielder Fellow (2022-2024), and the Black Student Association’s Treasurer and Special Events Coordinator. “In 2018, 33 percent of African-American men were incarcerated, but they only make up approximately five percent of the world’s population. So, when you have such a small population of people on a global scale, but then a significant number of those people is incarcerated, it leaves a very tainted picture of who they are and what they stand for. And I think that thinking about Dr. King’s work and the panelists’ discussion after the movie just highlights the fact that Black men are more than just a statistic. They’re more than not measuring up and being incarcerated or killed. They’re so much more than that.” 

The Black Student Association’s mission is to create a platform for all Black and African-American-identified student-practitioners to belong and to discuss issues in an accepting environment. Nearly 50 members are part of the BSA. 

“The Black Student Association creates a space for all Black and African-American-identified people to come and just feel safe and to share their authentic feelings about their graduate student experience, the Black experience overall, and just to have a space to feel and decompress,” Greenwood said. “It’s difficult being a minority in a school period, but to be a minority and in a Ph.D. program adds another layer to that. 

“BSA is specifically geared toward Black and African-American-identified individuals, but we do leave space for our allies. We understand that we can’t do this on our own. We need the assistance of our allies to continue to push the anti-racist rhetoric. It’s important for all of us to continue to uplift this work and Dr. King’s dream.” 

The BSA’s endeavors complement Fielding’s overall JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Strategic Implementation Plan, as well as Fielding’s values. The BSA’s work ties into each of Fielding’s four core values: academic excellence, community, diversity, learner-centered education, social justice, and transformational learning. 

“The Black Student Association has really taken up the mantle of raising awareness at Fielding by inviting us to take two steps back from the business of session and our lives to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the greater good,” said Allison Davis-White Eyes, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “Their work also addresses the greater contributions that people like Dr. King sacrificed their lives for, and so I stand in support of how the work of the BSA aligns with our JEDI strategic plan. I think it directly aligns with Fielding’s overarching commitment to building a beloved community, which is something that Dr. King spoke of many times in his speeches. 

“The realization of these goals through these kinds of reflective moments allows us to celebrate Dr. King. We have the opportunity to think about our individual contributions to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and our institutional commitments to that. We can ask ourselves about the ways we actually live those out. And if we’re not living those out, what should we be doing to actually accomplish that?” 

Fielding’s JEDI strategic plan will be available on www.fielding.edu in early 2023. 

In 2023, the BSA will commemorate Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Juneteenth – in addition to other forthcoming events and activities. BSA meetings are on the second Wednesday of every month. Contact Shania Greenwood for more information about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Movie Night and the Black Student Association. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

About the Author: Kaylin Staten

Kaylin R. Staten, APR, MPRCA, is a writer and accredited public relations practitioner based in West Virginia with two decades of professional communications experience. She serves as Fielding’s Associate Director of Communications.

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