The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Angela Davis joins students for a virtual Q&A Nov. 10

Davis discussed the election and modern activism among other topics during the virtual event for students.
Activist and scholar Angela Davis. (Photo Courtesy The Guardian)

Vanderbilt Programming Board’s (VPB) Speakers Committee hosted an event titled “An Evening with Angela Davis” on Wednesday, Nov. 10, attended by approximately 580 students. 

The event was held in a Q&A format moderated by Dr. Danyelle Valentine, a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt. Author, professor and activist Davis spoke about a gamut of issues including the recent election, her perspective on how to form a better world and what modern activism can and should look like, per junior Riley Alexander. 

Alexander said she attended the event for the opportunity to hear from someone that has always been an important figure in her life. 

“As a Black woman I am really inspired by her, and also I’m taking History of Black Power this semester so to hear from a person that I’m learning about in a class is an experience I couldn’t pass up,” Alexander said. 

Alexander thought the most meaningful part of the evening was when Davis delved into the importance of having an internationalist focus on activism and discussed the power normal people have to influence history.  

“The thing that stuck with me the most about what she said was that, one, history isn’t made by presidents, but it is made by groups of people coming together to change things,” Alexander said. “She talked about having an internationalist focus with activism and not just focusing on the United States.”

Alexander appreciated Davis’s ability to speak to experiences that resonated with her personally. 

“I felt like she was speaking to my experience and speaking to things that I have been noticing in life,” Alexander said. “She made a comment that was really similar to something that I had been talking to my mom about earlier that day, so it was like that feeling of recognizing in someone else that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings.”

Alexander said she wished there had been more discussion about Davis’s work in Palestine and her work with feminism, as the bulk of the discussion was centered around the election. During the conversation around the election, Alexander noted that Davis referred to President Donald Trump as the “current occupant of the White House” rather than by name. 

Davis follows former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang in the Speakers Committee series. Cole Bloomfield and Vik Reddy, co-chairs of the Vanderbilt Speakers Committee, spoke about the care the Speakers Committee puts into selecting people who are able to provide valuable insight on current events and engage the student body. 

Per Bloomfield, the Speakers Committee was pleased with the positive feedback they received from students and felt that students had been inspired to pursue what they love and stay actively involved in pursuing changes they wish to see. 

“Positive feedback doesn’t mean that all of the students in attendance have, you know, attended the event, heard what Andrew Yang has had to say, heard what Angela Davis has had to say, and they have agreed with all of those positions,” Bloomfield said. “That is not necessarily what has happened, and that’s not necessarily our goal as speakers committee.”

The Speakers Committee wanted to bring in Angela Davis specifically because of her ability to speak on the Black Lives Matter movement and issues around race, as well as provide commentary on the current political climate, per Bloomfield.

“Angela Davis is an incredible and really storied educator and thinker and has been one of the more prominent voices in American politics and the public sphere for the last 50 years,” Bloomfield said.

View comments (1)
About the Contributor
Charlotte Mauger
Charlotte Mauger, Staff Writer
Charlotte Mauger ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy with a minor in French. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her on FaceTime with her cats, watching movies or exploring all Nashville has to offer. You can reach her at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (1)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

It was truly disappointing that the bulk of the conversation focused on the election. We barely got to hear about Ms. Davis’ actual activism or views on issues such as prison abolition.