When a group of Black Harvard students founded the Generational African American Students Association, they created a new label for an old identity. But the act of naming has raised a host of difficult questions about representation within elite spaces, access to the resources they provide, and the efficacy of promoting marginalized groups within them. And advocating for Generational African American Students carries a fraught undercurrent — a tension between specificity and solidarity, a risk of pitting one marginalized group against another.
Dear reader, It’s a rainy afternoon, and inside the Somerville Bureau of The Harvard Crimson, we’re all on our laptops staring longingly at photos of Crema Cafe. Perfect weather, if you ask us, to switch tabs and instead peruse your Favorite Magazine. In this week’s cover story, JFA writes of the newly-founded Generational African American Students Association, a first-of-its-kind affinity group within the Black community at Harvard and around the country for folks who trace their lineage to American slavery. Though GAASA has provided its members with an answer to the vexing question “where are you really from?” it nonetheless comes with a host of fraught questions — about representation within elite spaces, access to the resources they provide, and the efficacy of promoting marginalized groups within them. With care and thoughtfulness, JFA questions the supposed threat “specificity” poses to “solidarity.” But of course that’s not all: DCB and MX profile the music venue lobbying against Somerville’s ban on outdoor live music. AVM speaks with the restaurants prepping for a long winter. ANW explores why the Graduate School of Education pushed its Ph.D. admissions to the next cycle. TCK prepares for a virtual Harvard Model Congress tournament. TMB and SNT talk to the experts about Massachusetts’s drought. SWT traces the roots of the “radical biweekly” Old Mole magazine. And in the first installment of their column on sex and work, EDP and JFA profile the feminist audio pornography company Quinn. LRW closes the issue with a vivid account of a chicken slaughtering and a poignant reflection on the ways we justify our decisions. Still quarantining, we assume? Perfect — crack open our magazine and take your mind off the bad stuff. Yours, AWDA + NHP
In March, a small group of scientists affiliated with Harvard Medical School began self-administering an unapproved SARS-CoV-2 vaccine they had designed alone in a private laboratory. Then, they decided to post their procedure on the internet, claiming it was only ethical that they share their knowledge. The actions of the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative challenge traditional understandings of the scientific process — and it’s unclear whether its “necessary act of compassion” is safe or legal.
Christian Cooper, who has been intimately involved with movements for social justice his entire life, who has lived 57 years as a Black man in America, has always understood that a Harvard degree and a penchant for birdwatching can’t always protect him. In fact, he would probably view that observation as rather mundane. He would much rather focus on creating a system where he doesn’t need protection in the first place.