Black and Brown empowerment event

Juniors Earl Simons and Sarah Navy duet together in front of Warch Campus Center.  

Photo by Zhixuan Lyu

The balminess of the afternoon on Saturday, Nov. 7 made for the perfect environment to host an outdoor event. The Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA)’s event organizers, senior Adona Lauriano and freshmen Allison Wunderlin and Avery Grayton brought together a day full of activities to give students a break from the stress that the end of the term brings. Commenting on the organization’s motivation to create the event, Lauriano said, “CODA’s event coordinating team … worked to throw a Black and Brown empowerment event for everyone to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. We worked with students on campus to guide a meditation, provide entertainment and lead activities which promote radical self-love and mindfulness.” The afternoon started with a mindfulness and meditation session in Somerset from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., where a variety of activities were available, including coloring, bracelet making and chances for reflective conversation. 

This was followed by an outdoor music segment. A small stage was set up with mics and a sound system in front of The Café at Warch Campus Center where people could enjoy the performance as they passed by on their way across campus or stop for a while to sit and listen. Many audience members even got food from The Café to snack on while they sat. People were scattered along the ground in front of the stage and in the grass, as well as on the steps of the quad houses nearby. 

The performances were scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and varied between music and spoken word poetry. Senior Awa Badiane introduced each of the performances. Some familiar upperclassmen faces came back to the stage, but the event also brought lots of newer talent from freshmen like Monique Johnson, Diego Leon and Allison Wunderlin, who haven’t had as many chances to showcase their talents this year. 

The afternoon show started off with spoken word poetry, and the setlist from there contained a pleasant mixture of a variety of genres. It wound between covers of Childish Gambino on the guitar, poems about what it means to be Black and ukulele songs to spiritual music and pop music alike from a duo of juniors Sarah Navy on vocals and Earl Simons on horn. There were also original pieces from other students, such as junior George Media and senior Daniel Green that delighted and moved everyone involved. Each artist performed with ease despite whatever nerves they were feeling. 

On a day like this, it was easy to hearken back to the warm spring LUaroo days where the campus gathered together to take part in and celebrate the talents of our peers, but this isn’t spring, and it was rather unusual for a day in November when it is usually much colder by now. It was easy to tell that the audience felt rejuvenated by all of it. The opportunity to see live music outside in the sun may likely be one of the last of its kind that we see this term.

To top off the trio of events for the day, after the performances were over, CODA invited students to the Mudd Library plaza to have refreshments and hang out to close the evening.