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Manhattanville College to Host Ella Baker Day, Themed “Mobilizing Media: Journalism for Social Change”

Head editors of Colorlines, Akiba Solomon & Kenrya Rankin will be Keynote Speakers

(PURCHASE, NY) — Manhattanville College will host Ella Baker Day on Thursday, April 18 to honor the legacy of the unsung Civil Rights Movement activist and the continuing social justice work of women of color.  The theme for this year’s Ella Baker Day is “Mobilizing Media: Journalism for Social Change”; the event features two keynote speakers who are journalists, activists, and authors who report and write on social injustice.  The talk, free and open to the public, will be held at Reid Castle at Manhattanville College and starts at 6:30 p.m.  

Ella Baker Day Keynote Speakers Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin,
the head editors of Colorlines

The keynote speakers this year are Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin, the head editors of Colorlines.  Akiba Solomon is the Senior Editorial Director of Colorlines. She is an NABJ-Award winning journalist from West Philadelphia. Online, she has written about culture and the intersection between gender and race for Ebony, Dissent, Essence and POZ. As Colorlines’ inaugural reporting fellow, Solomon reported on reproductive health access for women of color. Solomon has also been a health editor for Essence, a researcher for Glamour and a senior editor for the print versions of Vibe Vixen and The Source. Kenrya Rankin, Editorial Director of Colorlines, is an award-winning author, journalist, editorial consultant, speaker and on-air talent whose insight has been tapped by leading outlets, including The New York TimesThe Huffington Post and ThinkProgress. From books to news analysis to breastfeeding primers, she creates dynamic content that amplifies the lived experiences, advocacy and work of people of color and shifts the narrative around who deserves liberation, justice and dignity in America. Solomon and Rankin are also the authors of the forthcoming book, How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance (Bold Type Books, 2019).  There will be a special opportunity at the closing of the keynote portion of the event to purchase the book and have it signed by Solomon and Rankin. More information on the panelists can be found at

As part of Ella Baker Day, students will also be presenting poster presentations, from 12-2 p.m. in the Manhattanville cafeteria, on journalism and social change. 

Ella Baker dedicated her life to activism and is known for her belief in the potential and dignity of every individual. She mentored and worked closely with nearly every major civil rights organization including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; she also personally mentored major civil rights era activists such as Julian Bond, Diane Nash, Bob Moses and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). Ella Baker is known for saying: “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.” Ella Baker Day is part of a wider campaign to create a holiday in honor of Ella Baker in New York (see the petition at Hephzibah Strmic-Pawl, founder of the campaign to create an Ella Baker Day and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Manhattanville, says such a day “reminds us of Ella Baker’s spirit of dedication and fight for social inequality as well as highlights the work of contemporary women of color activists who continue to manifest that spirit.”  

Ella Baker Day is hosted by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of Manhattanville College; the campus is located at 2900 Purchase Street in Purchase, NY.  

An RSVP in encouraged but not required:
For additional information about the event contact Eric Slater at or 914.798.2732

About Manhattanville College:
Manhattanville College is a small, private liberal arts institution dedicated to academic excellence, purposeful education, and social justice. Located 30 miles from New York City on a 100-acre suburban campus in the heart of bustling Westchester County, Manhattanville enables easy access to robust entertainment offerings, educational resources, and business opportunities for its primarily residential and diverse student body. The College serves approximately 1,800 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students from more than 48 countries and 37 states. Founded in 1841, the College offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate areas of study in the arts and sciences, education, business, and creative writing, as well as continuing and executive education programs. Graduate students can choose from over 75 graduate and certificate programs. Extracurricular offerings include more than 45 clubs and 20 NCAA Division III teams. To learn more, visit

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About AJ Woodson (2398 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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