From the Black Panther Party to Black Love Resists in the Rust, Black women have and continue to play key roles in organizing for our collective fight for Black liberation in New York and across the nation. UB will welcome Black women leaders and community organizers to campus for an important conversation.
Ericka Huggins is an educator, Black Panther Party member, former political prisoner, human rights advocate, and poet. For 50 years, Ericka has used her life experiences in service to community. From 1973-1981, she was director of the Black Panther Party’s Oakland Community School. From 1990-2004 Ericka managed HIV/AIDS Volunteer and Education programs. She also supported innovative mindfulness programs for women and youth in schools, jails and prisons. Ericka was professor of Sociology and African American Studies from 2008 through 2015 in the Peralta Community College District. From 2003 to 2011 she was professor of Women and Gender Studies at California State Universities- East Bay and San Francisco.
Ericka is a Racial Equity Learning Lab facilitator for WORLD TRUST Educational Services. She curates conversations focused on the individual and collective work of becoming equitable in all areas of our daily lives. Additionally, she facilitates workshops on the benefit of self care in sustaining social change. She is co-author, with Stephen Shames, of the book, Comrade Sisters-Women of the Black Panther Party, published in 2022.
Phylicia Brown (she/her) was born and raised on the East Side of Buffalo and began her career as an educator in 2011. Phylicia has worked at the intersection of education and justice as a general and special education teacher, an advocate for Students with Disabilities, and a school
administrator. In 2020, Phylicia transitioned from school leadership to director of Black Love Resists in the Rust, a justice-based organization and political home for Black and Brown people in Buffalo. Phylicia is an alum of Black Organizers for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD) and is
committed to base-building, leadership development, and political education for the sake of Black Liberation in Buffalo and beyond!
Claudia Chesson-Williams is a Panther Woman, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother. Chesson-Williams joined the Black Panther Party just before her 18th birthday, ready to be a warrior and fight and die for her people. She spent much of her time in the party working in the NY chapter. Her firm belief that the struggle continues and that the truth must finally be told inspires Chesson-Williams’ service to the community today. Claudia is a member of the Black Panther Commemoration Committee NY and is integrally involved in planning the committee’s 14th annual BPP film Festival, the theme for which is "Remembering Our Political Prisoners." She is also a member of the Nationwide Black Panther Alumni, currently led by her fellow BPP sister, Paula Peebles. For Claudia, it is a great surprise and honor to have the opportunity to speak today at Columbia University, where she worked for 23 years.
Yasmeen Majid was a member of the Corona BPP office, a subsection of the Jamaica Chapter of the Black Panther Party in New York. Majid also is a member of the Black Panther Commemoration Committee and the National Alumni Association of the BPP. As a Panther, Yasmeen was taught to serve the People, body and soul and her work continues to reflect that commitment. She transferred her knowledge from her Party days to work in the community and make a difference; first as a Comptroller for Elmcor, a drug treatment program in her neighborhood of Corona East Elmhurst; then as Controller for Queens Economic Development. Majid created the Financial Department for Allen AME Church, clearing the way for the construction of Allen Cathedral, one of the largest churches in southeastern Queens. Majid retired in 2014 after eighteen years of working for Greenhope Services for Women, one of the most comprehensive programs for women transitioning back home from the prison system , during which time she was the head of their Finance Department, and was the owner representative for the construction of their new state of the arts green building on 119street and Pleasant Ave. Yasmeen’s commitment has also been to her comrades, raising awareness and release of Panther Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War, some of whom have been imprisoned for more than 40 years.
Join us for a conversation with Ericka Huggins, Phylicia Brown, Claudia Williams, and Yasmeen Majid about the ways Black women have led and taken the well-being and liberation of communities into their own hands historically and contemporarily. The conversation will include a discussion on panelists' lived experiences as community organizers and about Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party, a book that uses photography and stories to highlight the important contributions of Black women to the Black Panther Party.
This virtual event will take place from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. EST
Registration is required. A link for the presentation will be emailed to you in response to your registration as the event approaches.
Individuals who register for the event will have a chance to receive a FREE copy of the book Comrade Sisters by Ericka Huggins and Stephen Shames or Swag apparel by Black Love Resists in the Rust. Register as soon as possible while supplies last!
The event is hosted by Gwen Baxley, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo