Days of Resistance: Documenting Black Lives Matter in Higher Education

This oral history project will document the formation and impact of the student-led movement of Black Lives Matter in Higher Education (BLMHE). Housed within Teachers College Higher and Postsecondary Education Program (HPSE), this group consists of HPSE students and faculty that have come together to analyze the effects of systemic societal forces on members of the HPSE community and their broader effects on higher education. This project is made possible by a 2018 Vice President’s Diversity and Community Initiatives Grant at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Blind Spots in Librarianship: Examining Diversity and          Anti-Racism in the Information Profession

This collaborative study will conduct focus group interview sessions with current students and graduating students to understand equity and inclusion in library school educational settings. These sessions seek to provide students an opportunity to discuss politically charged issues related to marginalized identity in safe spaces for dialogue and empowerment. The goal is to develop teaching strategies that give students room to address difficult issues that matter to them and facilitate their path to success. This can be enhanced by continuing conversations, learning, and organizing around diversity and anti-racism in librarianship. This study is produced in partnership with the Inclusive Pedagogy Scholars Program at Pratt Institute.

Beyond Bricks and Mortar

Cynthia is leading a collaborative project called Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Stories of Community and Resilience that is partnering with the Hope Gardens Senior Center, Silent Barn, and Families United for Racial Economic Equality (FUREE). This collaborative documentary project between public housing residents and community organizations/volunteers seeks to highlight the lives and experiences of residents in public housing as they face the changes in their communities resulting from diminishing affordable housing stock and gentrification. We hope to inspire action towards preserving and improving affordable housing for our forgotten neighbors in public housing. Utilizing video and photography, Beyond Bricks and Mortar will foster intergenerational partnerships with youth, adults and seniors to collect and convey the stories of their lived experiences.

Visions of Greatness at BCC

Visions of Greatness at BCC: Rethinking Racial Disparities in the Hall of Fame is a digital archival exhibit that features digitized archival documents, newspaper clippings, flyers, memorandum, photographs capturing the social impact this monument has had in the Bronx, as well as the country. This exhibit examines themes of historical exclusion, diversity and achievement at the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, a designated landmark of national importance, for the CUNY community, the New York City metropolitan area, and state. It serves as a critical tool for students as they explore what thematic connections exist between the Hall of Fame’s past and BCC’s present by participating in nominating a “Great” into our featured virtual Hall of Fame. This exhibit was made possible by a grant by the Diversity Projects Development Fund of the University Advisory Council on Diversity (UACD), CUNY.

Cities for People, Not for Profit

As part of Cities for People, Not for Profit: Gentrification & Housing Activism in Bushwick, Cynthia interviewed artists, activists, and community residents in the neighborhood about their thoughts on gentrification/housing issues taking place in Bushwick, as well as documented what community activism efforts have been like for local organizations such as Make the Road NY and Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council. These oral histories are being archived and disseminated in order to provide community members with resources on alternative housing strategies and community organizing efforts in the area.

WRI Voices

The WRI Oral History Project documents the history of the Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI), a grassroots student activist and community leadership training organization located at Hunter College. The aim is to examine, via these oral history interviews, social movement activity at the level of a grassroots organization as exemplified by the WRI, which was developed to aid student welfare recipients to become agents of social change and actively involve them with policymaking.

Raising Ourselves Up

Each student’s time at Bronx Community College is unique, yet all students are bound to each other by the shared sense of struggle towards achieving a college education. Throughout Raising Ourselves Up: Oral Histories from First-Generation College Students at BCC, students will examine the challenges faced by low-income, working-class groups of peer students from various ethnic, racial, and immigrant backgrounds, groups that BCC is dedicated to serving and who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. This project will also help inspire resiliency among BCC students by showing positive examples of overcoming adversity to attain a college education. This project is made possible by the 2016 Presidential Grant, Bronx Community College, CUNY.

“Do not listen with the intent to reply, but with the intent to understand.” -Stephen R. Covey


Feel free to take a moment to browse through Cynthia’s collections at Bronx Community College, oral history interviews on housing justice, or deep listening reflections on gentrification and displacement in Brooklyn.


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