Ibram X. Kendi speaks at Simmons


Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Image courtesy of Simmons University.

Katie Cole, News Editor

Hope is necessary for change, said Dr. Ibram X. Kendi during a virtual conversation hosted by Simmons for Spring 2021 Community Read. 

“I derive hope from a simple truism that once we lose hope we aren’t going to make change,” he said.

The Spring 2021 Community Read centered on Kendi’s bestselling book ‘How To Be An Antiracist,’ which focuses on racial justice in America and why he believes it’s not enough to be “not racist,” but that one must strive to be actively antiracist. 

“In my book, I was vulnerable with a lot of people,” said Kendi. “You don’t have to necessarily share with the world the times you’ve been racist, but you have to come to grips with that yourself. You have to be honest with yourself.”

Simmons President Lynn Perry Wooten moderated the March 1 conversation with Kendi. Among the topics discussed were how to have productive conversations with those engaging in racist behaviors, best practices for allyship, how to create an antiracist university campus, and Kendi’s personal history of growing into being an antiracist. 

According to the event website, the mission of the Spring 2021 Community Read is “to build community and a culture of collaboration at Simmons; establish a common language for discussing issues of race, identity, power, privilege and oppression; and create a space for personal reflection and growth.”

The Spring Read programming contained workshops where students, faculty, alumni, and staff were invited to learn about unconscious bias along with the voluntary reading of ‘How To Be An Antiracist’ and the conversation with Kendi. 

Jenia Brewington, a Simmons senior and the president of the Black Student Organization, gave closing remarks for the virtual event. Brewington said to Kendi, “just for having you here, I know that as a school, we’re taking a step in the right direction”