Bridge Building, Intersectionality and Inclusion
This paper focuses on the using popular culture such as hip hop to discuss topical and critical issues on campus. The first Hip Hop Symposium started in 2017 as a response to the 2016 election results. As of Fall 2017 83% of students identify as being ethnically diverse at Cal Poly Pomona.1 In addition, some of our students are undocumented, so it’s understandable why many students on campus were sad and depressed. After talking about this with faculty in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies department and with the African American Student Center coordinator, the Hip Hop and Activism series was started by Subject Librarian Kai Alexis Smith to help students use hip hop to channel their feelings and discuss topics that can help them understand various issues of and ways to resist.
This series of events occured in the Library and involved two panel discussions and two film screenings with post discussions that involved faculty from interdisciplinary departments that usually don’t work together such as political science, ethnic and women’s studies and history. Students presented with faculty at the symposium and there were even a few student moderators. A online resource guide was created to support the discussion and provide students the opportunity to continue learning through the Cal Poly Pomona and California State University collection. Also, the student club the 4 Elements of Hip Hop performed and lead a post series discussion. Through discussions, students were able to brainstorm ways to be activists in their life since attending a protest is not always possible.
The 2018 symposium is scheduled to occur in February 2018. It builds on the success of the first one and has been improved through learning from participant feedback. Some changes include a keynote speaker, more student involvement and a hip hop information literacy workshop. This paper will explore what worked in the first series and what did not and what changes were made to improve the new Hip Hop Symposium.
Cal Poly Pomona, Office of Equity Inclusion and Compliance. (2017). University Enrollment, Fall 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.cpp.edu/~arar/just-the-facts/university-enrollment.shtml#GenderEthn