2022 Keynote Speaker: Imani Barbarin

photo of Imani BarbarinImani Barbarin is a disability rights and inclusion activist and speaker who uses her  voice and social media platforms to create conversations engaging the disability  community. Born with cerebral palsy, Imani often writes and uses her platform to speak  from the perspective of a disabled black woman. In the last few years she has created  over a dozen trending hashtags that allow disabled folk the opportunity to have their perspectives heard while forcing the world to take notice. #PatientsAreNotFaking,  #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow, #AbledsAreWeird and others each provide a window into disabled life while forming community.  

Imani is from the Philadelphia area and holds a Masters in Global Communications from the American University of Paris, her published works include those in Forbes, Rewire,  Healthline, BitchMedia and more. She runs the blog CrutchesAndSpice.com and a podcast of the same name. She currently serves as the Communications Director for a  nonprofit in Pennsylvania.

Keynote Address Details

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Reid Ballroom (Overflow viewing: Cordiner Hall)  
Doors Open: 6 p.m. PT | Event Begins: 6:30 p.m. PT

Whitman students, faculty and staff: Be sure to bring your Whitman ID and wear a mask.

This event will be open to non-Whitman community members who are vaccinated, boosted and wear an N-95 mask. We will be checking vaccination status at the door so please have proof of vaccination with you. For more information regarding campus COVID-19 regulations please review the link here.

Find the livestream of the keynote address at https://live.whitman.edu.

Guest Speaker and Performer: Aisha Fukushima ’09

AISHA FUKUSHIMA is a Performance Lecturer, Justice Strategist, Singer/Songwriter, and RAPtivist (rap activist). Fukushima founded RAPtivism (Rap Activism), a hip hop project spanning 20 countries and four continents, amplifying universal efforts for freedom and justice. She is a multilingual, multiracial African American Japanese woman who has done lectures and performances everywhere from the United States to France, Morocco, Japan, Germany, England, South Africa, Senegal, India, Denmark and beyond. Fukushima’s ‘RAPtivism’ work has been featured on Oprah Magazine, TEDx, KQED Public Television, The Seattle Times, TV 2M Morocco, The Bangalore Mirror, HYPE, South Africa’s #1 Hip Hop Magazine, and Tour highlights include performing for audiences of over 20,000 people in Nepal, speaking with the president of Estonia about the power of music to create change, and sharing stages with the likes of Bernie Sanders, Angela Davis, Emory Douglas (Black Panthers), KRS-One, Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, The Isley Brothers, and M1 (Dead Prez). As a public speaker, Aisha combines the art of performance and lecture and links themes such as hip hop, global citizenship, empowerment, feminism and cultural activism through storytelling as well as live musical performance.

For more information about Aisha, visit her website at: https://aishafukushima.com/

Aisha's Events

Kickoff Event

Watch Aisha’s performance on Tuesday February 22, 2022 with opening performances from Whitman students! Whitman students, faculty & staff are welcome to join in-person at Cordiner at 7 p.m. 

In honor of Whitman Alumna’s accomplishments as the Whitman Trailblazer Diversity & Inclusion Award, the Alumni Relations Office and the P&P Executive Team will be giving away pre-purchased merchandise from Aisha’s collection. After the performance, there will be a limited amount of free t-shirts and CDs available for attendees. 

Doors Open: 6:45 p.m. PT  | Event Begins: 7:00 p.m. 
Be sure to bring your Whitman ID and wear a mask!

Non-Whitman attendees are welcome to join virtually for this event. A livestream with Aisha’s performance will premiere on Tuesday, February 22!

BALANCE, BEATS, & BREAKS: P&P Symposium Session

Join Aisha for her P&P Session on Thursday February 24, 2022 at 9:30am-10:30am PT. Please register ahead of time through this link.

In this session we will move through some mindfulness practices to root and uplift us. This session is an opportunity to explore the power of your voice, and the power of creativity as a portal for changemaking (from the inside out). Our time together will involve music, movement, breathwork, freewriting, and sweet moments to decompress/express. Come as you are, all are welcome.

In advance to Aisha’s session, please feel free to fill out this Q&A Form with questions you may have. A select number of questions will be featured near the end of Thursday’s session.

Guest Speaker: Darius Northern

Darius NorthernDarius Northern is a social activist, pioneer and founder of the People of Colour Clothing brand which aims to educate, generate conversation and create opportunities for people to examine their conscious behavior on topics primarily related to racial identity, racism and discrimination. The inspiration behind creating this clothing brand stemmed from shouldering racial identity within a predominantly white environment. With that experience Darius developed forms of anxiety, depression and isolation behavior, which deepened the need for cathartic expression. Through fashion, Darius developed a concept that connected racial identity in a format that also helped bring awareness and relief to everyday struggles. By creating wearable content that brought awareness to social issues, while also empowering the voices and presence of people of color, the clothing concept redirected conversations back to social equity and accountability. By wearing P.O.C.C., one is able to embrace their racial identity while bringing attention to underlying social factors and discrimiation that people of color face everyday.

Darius is originally from Nashville, Tennessee and is an alum of Oregon State University, where the brand was started. Darius has also started a podcast discussing issues like mental health and recently embarked on a College Connect Initiative aimed to connect with college students' to learn about their individual experiences and establish environments that are the epicenter for social awareness.

For more information about Darius or to purchase merchandise, visit the People of Colour Clothing Website or email collegeconnect@peopleofcolourclothing.com.