The Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism will hold a day-long symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 at Brooklyn College to commemorate the seismic political and cultural impact of Shirley Chisholm’s ascent to Washington, D.C. Chisholm was a member of the Brooklyn College class of 1946. The program will begin with a panel discussion at 11 a.m. in the Gold Room of the Brooklyn College Student Center, followed by the keynote dialogue at 2:15 p.m. in Woody Tanger Auditorium, which is located on the first floor of the Brooklyn College Library. All events are free and open to the public.

The day of events will be headlined by award-winning poet and author Sonia Sanchez in a keynote dialogue with Chisholm Project Director Zinga A. Fraser, Ph.D. Sanchez is a towering figure in the Civil Rights and Black Arts movement, an international lecturer on racial justice, women’s liberation, and human rights, as well as the author of over 20 books of poetry. In addition to her long list of accolades, she was recently awarded the Wallace Stevens Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Academy of American Poets. As keynote speaker for the 50th anniversary celebration of Chisholm’s election to Congress, Sanchez will speak at length on Chisholm’s legacy and the black freedom movement, in addition to her activism and art during oppressive political times.

The symposium will also include a panel discussion entitled, “The State of Black Women’s Politics.” Assembled for the roundtable will be some of the eminent black women scholars in the field of political science, as well as one of New York’s most influential grassroots strategists for social justice. They include: Christina Greer of Fordham University; Monica Dennis, coordinator of Black Lives Matter NYC and co-founder of Move to End Violence; Nadia Brown of Purdue University; and Niambi Carter of Howard University. Fraser will serve as moderator. Together, these strategists and scholars will delve into the promise and perils that face black women in 2018 and beyond as they follow in Chisholm’s footsteps as catalysts for change in the political system and broader society.

Shirley St. Hill Chisholm is one of Brooklyn College’s most illustrious and influential alumni. Her iconic “Unbossed and Unbought” campaign united women, the working class, and racial minorities in a diverse coalition of voters to secure her rise to national prominence in 1968. Far more than just a symbolic figure, Chisholm was a vociferous champion for policies that improved the lives of marginalized people on both the state and national level. In the New York legislature, she pioneered the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) program to expand educational opportunities for low-income students as well as unemployment benefits for domestic workers. As a national figure, she fought against the massive war spending in Vietnam in the face of significant poverty in the United States. She fought for the Equal Rights Amendment, enlisting more women into positions of political power, and publicly funded daycare, parental leave, civil rights, and political autonomy for black people, voting rights for all, and women’s reproductive freedom. Further, she was deeply concerned with issues of hunger, lending her influence to the expansion of food stamps and acting as a key architect of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

Now, decades after ‘Fighting’ Shirley Chisholm’s campaign for justice on the national stage began, women like her remain at its vanguard against all odds. Chisholm Day will not only honor the history that was made in years past, but also the strides that women are making today in the #MeToo movement, the Women’s March, the movement for Black Lives, and in the contemporary works of women of color like Ayanna Pressley, Stacy Abrams, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, London Breed, and Letitia James—all of whom are marching towards the halls of power and renewing Chisholm’s mandate for social and political transformation.

For more information on the Chisholm Project, visit our website. For more details on this historic event, contact the Project via e-mail at