Local activist Alishea Sutton, self-education at a new level, shared with the community

. March 10, 2020.
Event creator Alishea Sutton
Event creator Alishea Sutton

History in Her Hands

When Alishea Sutton’s first began discussing Black History with her son, she realized that his private school education wasn’t teaching him much about the subject. She then came to the realization that she didn’t know as much as she would like either, even though she was studying Black History in graduate school. That’s when Alishea decided to take the educational component into her own hands, creating a program around it.

On Saturday, March 14 the public is invited to join Alishea at the Sanger Branch Library from 2:45-4pm to listen and participate in poetry readings and open discussion about the Harlem Renaissance.

We spoke with Alishea about the event and her personal ideals of what it can mean for the community.

In addition to learning more about Black History, and teaching your son, what does this event mean to you?
Hosting this event means giving back to the community. I’m a full-time graduate student, parent and I have so many other identities that I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer like I did in the past. I’m honored to be able to share what I’ve learned with the community. I’m sure I will learn from the participants as well.

I don’t consider myself an expert on all things regarding the Black community and on Black History, but what I do know and can research, I’m willing to share with the community.

In what way has it impacted your interest in learning more and sharing with the community?
I realized how little I knew about the contributions of African Americans throughout history. I remember taking an African American History course in high school, but that was over 20 years ago. I’m learning something new nearly every day either through research or pages I follow on social media (I fact check the sources). I also think it’s important that we all have cultural awareness. So being in a position to share Black History with the community can have an impact on how we interact with, and understand, each other. This event and others like it provide an opportunity for people to know— collectively.

Do you foresee the event growing? Has it inspired you to take any further steps?
I initially only planned to host the event once, but I was encouraged to host it again. It’s part of a year-round teaching and learning experience that my business partner has decided to do. We have different topics planned throughout the year and hope to partner with local organizations to highlight various moments and movements in Black History.

What would you like our readers to know about the event?
This event is open to everyone regardless of their racial or ethnic identity. It’s important that histories of all cultures and ethnicities are celebrated and shared with the community. I encourage the community to learn more about the contributions of African Americans in literature and the arts.

I hope the idea spreads throughout the city and eventually the nation. I’m aware that there are communities who are doing similar programs and events to educate the public and schools about different ethnicities and cultures. We don’t have to wait for February to celebrate Black History or March to celebrate women. Instead, we can celebrate others and learn year-round.

2:45-4pm | Saturday, March 14
Sanger Branch Library, 3030 W. Central Ave.
For more information, see “A Moment in Black History: Poetry Readings from the Harlem Renaissance” on Facebook.
Admission is free but seating is limited, attendees are encouraged to register via Facebook.