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Cromwell Day 2020

This year’s celebration of Cromwell Day provides an opportunity to come together, virtually, to reflect and learn about diversity, racism and inclusion. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Tackling Anti-Blackness: Moving Past the Abstract.”

The celebration—to be held on Tuesday, November 10—will feature online workshops, speakers, readings and other events. 

Members of the general public are invited to watch the keynote address via livestream on Smith’s Facebook page. All other sessions are open only to Smith students, faculty and staff.

Yamiche Alcindor Delivers 2020 Keynote Address

Award-winning journalist Yamiche AlcindorAward-winning journalist Yamiche Alcindor will deliver the keynote address at the 2020 celebration of Cromwell Day. Her remarks will address “The 2020 Election in Black and White.”

Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. She is also a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC, appearing on programs including Morning Joe, Andrea Mitchell Reports, The Rachel Maddow Show and Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

Before joining the NewsHour, Alcindor was a national political reporter for The New York Times, covering Congress as well as the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders. She has written about the impact of President Trump’s policies on working-class people and people of color, and on how police killings affect communities and children. She has also produced videos and documentaries about societal concerns such as wrongful convictions and gun violence.

Before joining The New York Times, Alcindor was a national reporter for USA Today, traveling across the country to cover breaking news stories, including the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut; the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida; and the police-related protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. 

Alcindor says that her goal has been to be a civil rights journalist and that she was inspired by the late PBS NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill. 

Alcindor has been widely honored for her work. Earlier this year, she received the Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage from the White House Correspondents’ Association. Simmons University presented her with its Ifill Next Generation Award, and she received the NextGen Leader Award from the Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance. In 2017, Alcindor was honored in a tribute to Ifill during Syracuse University’s Toner Prize ceremony. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and was named the organization’s “Emerging Journalist of the Year” in 2013.

Alcindor holds a master’s degree in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking from New York University and a bachelor’s in English, government and African American studies from Georgetown University.

Schedule Overview

Activity Time
Resting to Rise: A Daring to Rest Community Pause
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Roundtable Discussion on Anti-Blackness
Noon–1 p.m.
Ceremony and Keynote Address
Tackling Anti-Blackness: Moving Past the Abstract
Note: This will be livestreamed only and not available after the event.
1:30–3 p.m.
  • Q&A featuring Yamiche Alcindor
  • On Banners and Belonging: A Conversation
  • Replenish My Spirit: Processing (Black and Brown Wholeness) Note: Canceled 
  • No Such Thing as Neutral: Racism and Technology Design
  • What Has the White Staff and Faculty Accountability Group Been up to Since July
  • Reggaeton Roots and the Erasure of Afro-Latinx Artists
3:15–4:45 p.m.
Arts Showcase
Tackling Anti-Blackness Through Art
4:45–5 p.m.

Detailed Schedule

Smith students, faculty and staff are invited to participate and must register via the links below using their Smith email.

Workshop, 10:30–11:30 a.m.


Resting to Rise: A Daring to Rest Community Pause with Benita Jackson, professor of psychology
Begin to gently integrate the learnings from this important day to our campus community, and our times more broadly, by participating in a community nap with other motivated but weary folks interested in personal growth for social transformation. Nurture leadership development in a perhaps most unexpected way with this one-hour introduction to Daring to Rest—a profoundly healing practice that involves lying down, resting and resetting one’s nervous system to refresh and plug back into personal power to fuel collective healing. Yes—this will be a Zoom meeting where your eyes are closed for as much of it as you like.

Workshop, Noon–1 p.m.


Roundtable Discussion on Anti-Blackness with the Unity Presidents’ Council
The Unity Presidents’ Council (UPC) consists of the chairs and co-chairs of the 11 Unity organizations at Smith College. The UPC has existed since 1990 when the organizations, of that time, banded together to advocate for more physical cultural spaces on campus and stronger initiatives to recruit, retain and support students of color. Historically serving on the forefront in various capacities toward institutional change, the UPC will briefly review the impact of this council on the college. The Unity leaders will also discuss their challenges and accomplishments with tackling anti-Blackness in their respective organizations while collectively building a vision for a better campus community for Smithies of color.

Ceremony and Keynote Address, 1:30–3 p.m.
Tackling Anti-Blackness: Moving Past the Abstract


Kathleen McCartney, President; Floyd Cheung, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion

Musical Selection: “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Blackappella, the Black Campus Ministries Praise Group

The Life and Legacy of Otelia Cromwell, Ph.D.
Video Presentation

The Life and Legacy of Adelaide Cromwell, Ph.D.
Kim Alston, Program and Communications Manager, Muslim Student Adviser,
Center for Religious and Spiritual Life

Poetry Reading
“Maven” by Nikky Finney, Read by Leo Smith

Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Floyd Cheung, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion

Keynote Address
Yamiche Alcindor, Award-Winning Journalist
“The 2020 Election in Black and White”

Musical Selection

Workshops, 3:15–4:45 p.m.

Question and Answer featuring journalist Yamiche Alcindor
Yamiche Alcindor, award-winning journalist; Floyd Cheung, vice president for equity and inclusion; and Esther Mejia, SGA president, will participate in this session with interested members of the community.

On Banners and Belonging: A Conversation with artist Amanda Williams
Banners proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” hang prominently on most, but not all, of Smith’s residential houses. For artist Amanda Williams, the prevalence of these banners provokes many questions: How is Blackness navigated and valued at Smith? How do the public declarations of these banners reconcile with what occurs inside the buildings they adorn? How do you memorialize an injustice that is ongoing? How do you bring closure to symbols that linger? Join Williams for a discussion about how campus traditions—including Cromwell Day—shape and transmit forms belonging at Smith and about the banners that Williams created as part of An Imposing Number of Times (2020–22), a new artwork commissioned by the Smith College Museum of Art.

Replenish My Spirit: Processing (Black and Brown Wholeness) with Kris Mereigh, director, Wellness Services NOTE: Canceled 11-9-2020
This wholeness session of healing will be a hybrid event, with half the time spent on camera. The session encourages Black and Brown community members to explore ways to find healing during this time. There will be prompts and background music to encourage sharing. In the first part, we will connect as a community and respond to the prompts as a group. After that, we will encourage people to reflect on the prompts in any way they choose (off-camera) whether through movement, art or journaling. It will emphasize that wholeness is not one size fits all, but calls for reflection and self-exploration. The session ends with a community-guided meditation and affirmation.

No Such Thing as Neutral: Racism and Technology Design with Jen Malkowski, associate professor of film and media studies, and Yasmin Eisenhauer, associate director of learning, research and technology
REGISTRATION CLOSED (event at capacity)
Focusing on the racial biases built into technologies, this workshop invites participants to consider the harms and inequities of design processes that consistently center on white technology users. Together, we’ll examine case studies from media history (the racist foundations of photography and film equipment design) to our current digital moment (facial recognition software, Google search algorithms, Zoom meeting conventions). Participants can share ideas for how tech industries could operate more inclusively. The workshop’s format will feature a viewing of short, prerecorded video lectures, followed by small group discussion in online breakout rooms and a full discussion with all participants.

What Has the White Staff and Faculty Accountability Group Been up to Since July? with Toby Davis, inclusion education trainer and facilitator, Office for Equity and Inclusion; and Anna Ostow, seminarian intern, Center for Religious and Spiritual Life
The white staff and faculty accountability group came into being after the Generating Justice community gatherings in July, when community members were looking for more ways to share strategies for combating racism. This group of employees voluntarily explore how to hold themselves accountable for becoming more anti-racist through large group monthly meetings, weekly homework assignments, accountability buddies and resource sharing. This session showcases some of their work, beginning with an overview of their frameworks and examples of their evolving resources. Workshop participants are invited to share in some of the practices and actions the group has been exploring. This session welcomes all Smith community members.

Reggaeton Roots and the Erasure of Afro-Latinx Artists with the Latin American Students’ Organization and Caribe
How has the erasure of Afro-Latinx artists affected you? How else do we see the marginalization of Black artists in other music genres and the appropriation of non-Black artists in Black genres? The goal of this workshop is to create a space in which students and faculty members of African descent can engage and voice their thoughts and feelings about these current issues. In this workshop, we will explore ways in which we consume reggaeton, reflect on why some reggaeton artists rise to mainstream fame and why others don’t, and brainstorm ways in which we as non-Black Latinx people can responsibly consume reggaeton while centering its Afro-Caribbean roots.

Arts Showcase, 4:45–5 p.m.

Cromwell Day Arts Showcase: “Tackling Anti-Blackness Through Art”

This recorded 20-minute virtual arts showcase features students, staff and alums with contributions in various media, including poetry, sculpture, music, painting and photography. Some artists have provided statements, which will be read aloud, while others have responded  to questions posited by the committee.

Cromwell Day Committee 2020

  • Kim Alston
  • Joanne Benkley
  • Nikki Chambers
  • Floyd Cheung
  • Monica Dean
  • Julie Destine
  • Andrea Fernandes
  • Raven Fowlkes-Witten
  • Whitley Hadley
  • Bona Kang
  • Queen Lanier
  • Mehammed Mack
  • Sam Masinter
  • Alaine Williams
  • Davis Rivera


Toward Racial Justice at Smith - A Living Document for Community Comment

In this time of urgent racial crisis, we emerge from ongoing planning into powerful action.

With recommendations from our Toward Racial Justice at Smith plan, Smith College continues its commitment to transparency, to inclusivity and to racial justice at Smith. Informed by student, staff and faculty voices to Inclusion in Action work, as well as student and alumnae/i demands, discussions with the Inclusion Council and Presidents’ Cabinet, the college commits to action.