BLACK IS THE FUTURE | Nakeia Medcalf | ’18 MDes Int Ar
The African Alliance of Rhode Island has carved a path for people of African heritage within Providence and beyond. The struggles of navigating the non profit world will always remain, however these are merely obstacles that are always faced head on through perseverance and determination.
The summer revealed one of the most important solutions to remedy the oppression in the built environment–through self-determination. By definition the term self-determnination is the process by which a person controls their own life. While this definition may imply a level of individuality, within a community setting it is inclusive of everyone. By bettering oneself and fulfilling one’s civic responsibility as an individual, an individual’s contribution aids in remedying the community.
Overall my experience this summer was filled with highs and lows, moments of discouragement but not moments of defeat. After a long conversation with NJ Unaka, I had to rethink my ideas of a successful workshop. I remembered that during one workshop session I asked students to define success. I recall their responses having nothing to do with obtaining a full and complete understanding of Afrofuturism, but rather their willingness to improve or change something. The act of being proactive in trying to learn something new, gain new information was a turning point, a catalyst to a successful unknown. This attitude of success awakened in me towards the end of my time with AARI.
Ultimately, I realized that Afrofuturism though a large topic is an interesting one. And the fact that many people were interested in the subject and its history was a success in itself. The questions and conversations surrounding the topic of community and Afrofuturism ignites a passion that forces one to question the environment and offer solutions to change it. Using Afrofuturism as a tool that injects the community with the spirit of social activism encourages others to consider how their identity, self-determination and civic responsibility can create better spaces for people of color.
I enjoyed speaking with the community and engaging in a workshop setting. There are many many things that I would like to change moving forward but I can say that it was a success! And I think that there is so much more to be said about Afrofuturism and the communities of color it can offer solutions to.
I am empowered and enriched by the contribution of others within the Providence community and can confidently say, “Black is the Future!”