Black Students Celebrate and Reflect at JOY

The Journey of Our Years (JOY) congratulatory will celebrate Northwestern’s Black graduates on June 21. The event was organized by Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) to provide a culturally vibrant space that validates the achievements of Black students.

Rashaad Barnett, an MSA Graduate Assistant and head of the JOY planning committee, emphasized the importance of the congratulatory, especially at Northwestern.

Student poses for photo while wearing Kente stole at 2017 JOY Congratulatory

Student poses for photo while wearing Kente stole at 2017 JOY Congratulatory

“The history of Black students at Northwestern is rich and holds a proud tradition of excellence,” Barnett said. “So many times, the experiences of Black students are not taken into consideration when celebrating student achievement.”

JOY was first hosted in 2012 by Charles Kellom, former director of MSA, and Kristin Lawson, WCAS ‘12. The congratulatory has recognized all of the Black students in every graduating class since.

“This ceremony gives us an opportunity to celebrate and validate Black students and their families at the end of their journey through Northwestern University,” Barnett said.

JOY will feature a keynote speaker, student performances, awards, and more. Graduates will also receive Kente stoles, which are graduation stoles that feature a patchwork of vibrantly colored Kente cloth sheets woven together to signify the Black experience.

The congratulatory will be in the Louis Room of Norris from 1-3:30 p.m., and is open to anyone who is interested in participating.