Learn about the distinct history and community of Black students at Tufts and become familiar with the Tufts' Africana Center and the resources it offers.
SQUAD (Students' Quest for Unity in the African Diaspora) is a four day student-led program focused on fostering and celebrating relationships within the African Diaspora. Our mission is to create a safe and welcoming environment of unity, collaboration, learning and socializing as students navigate African-diaspora specific challenges on the campus and in their lives. Additionally, participants will explore African-diasporic history, culture, and community in Boston.
You will participate in a multitude of community bonding and service activities and take advantage of opportunities to participate in community service and engagement by:
- Acknowledging and exploring the intersections of ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and experience within the African-diaspora through personal narratives and historically written Black perspectives/insights.
- Introduction to resources on campus and support systems for the nurturing of inter-community and individual care.
- Fostering connections with non-collegiate organizations in the Medford, Somerville, and greater Boston areas.
- Consciousness building through discussions that encourage curiosity and the examination of society and self.
- Exploration of Boston and establishment of bonds within the community.
2023 Student Coordinators
Donovan Sanders, 2026
Donovan Sanders is a rising sophomore here at Tufts. He is excited to coordinate SQUAD this year, as it played an integral role in his transition into the university. Donovan is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and his prospective majors are Clinical Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. In his first year at Tufts, he joined TCU Senate, S-Factor, Envision Black Theatre, and Pan-Afrikan Alliance. Donovan is ready to help coordinate SQUAD and make incoming students feel at home!
Oumou Juwara, 2024
Oumou is a junior at Tufts University majoring in Clinical Psychology and Child Study and Human Development. Oumou is from The Bronx, New York, but her family is from Gambia. Oumou is excited to be a SQUAD coordinator especially because she was a SQUAD peer leader last year. She is excited to work in the Africana Center while cherishing memories and creating bonds that will last forever. You can catch Oumou at the Campus Center or in Latin Way hanging out with her friends.
Africana Center Director
As director of the Africana Center, Katrina serves as a campus resource and educates the community on emerging issues regarding students of African descent. She is responsible for establishing the Center's vision and advocates on behalf of students in cases of intolerance and/or discrimination. She works closely with students and student organizations to develop effective programs and initiatives to enhance the co-curricular experience of students and build leadership skills. A sought-after campus leader, Katrina participates in committee assignments, both within the division and the broader Tufts community.
Africana Center Associate Director
As Associate Director of the Africana Center, Montez strives to bolster the Center’s student support and programming initiatives and to enhance the quality of the student experience. He is primarily responsible for programming logistics and center operations. In addition, he also works closely with the Africana Center student interns and peer leaders to provide continuous outreach to the larger Africana community. Montez also works collaboratively with the five associated identity center under the Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion (DSDI). A Tufts graduate, Montez’s interest in the field of higher education began through his work as a student leader/employee and has manifested in his return to campus with a wide range of skills and experiences that he brings to the Africana Center team. Ever eager to connect with the Tufts community, Montez is committed to doing the work to ensure that students feel welcomed and find a sense of belonging on campus.
Africana Center Program Coordinator
Precious Chika Musa is a first-generation Nigerian american Black girl. She graduated from Smith College with her B.A. in English and Africana Studies with a Poetry Concentration and earned her MFA in Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Her poems appear in Tupelo Quarterly, West Trestle Review, Black Perspectives, and elsewhere. She currently serves as Program Coordinator for the Africana Center at Tufts University where she helps coordinate SQUAD and creates meaningful programs for students of African descent on campus.
Program Dates: August 24 - August 28
A Typical Day of SQUAD
What we might do on any given day based on past years’ programs.
|8 - 9 a.m.||Breakfast - Chicken and Waffles|
|9 a.m. - 12 p.m.||Off-Campus Experience- previous trips have included Escape the Room, or a visit to the African American Museum|
|12 - 1 p.m.||Lunch on Tufts Campus with peer leaders|
|1 - 5 p.m.||Workshop on Tufts Campus- Past topics: Consent, “Blaq Folx is the Future”|
|5 - 6 p.m.||Dinner in the dining hall with peer leaders|
|7 - 9 p.m.||Evening activity such as Trivia or Scavenger Hunt|
|9 - 10:30 p.m.||Reflection and discussion|
Project Utopia 2018
Students spend their time during SQUAD thinking through what a utopia could be for the Black diaspora via the information they gather through activists during their pre-orientation experience. Below are the utopias groups created, with the support of their Peer Leaders.
Afromoonian history starts with the discovery of “moonstone” by Black Scientists. After returning to earth and examining the mysterious stone, scientists notice that moonstone is reactive to music. The rock communicates to the Diaspora by “calling” them to the moon, and those chosen have a choice to respond (by going). Afro World features an Oxygen rich field created by the growth of plants native to Afro World. Afro World also has Self Sustaining building, music, shields, and a 4-day week, and 4 months in Afro World time is equivalent to 1 year on Earth. There is free Health Care, and an interactive education system where school doesn’t “end”, instead Afromoonians continue to learn. There is no “rigid curriculum”, and there is a lot of hands-on experience and internships available. Students can even choose to study abroad on Earth or other planets. Afromoonians have no need for money, and the only crime on Afro World is being off beat, which is requires that the guilty must appeal in the court of law and be punished for not having rhythm. Afromoonians are culturally tied to music, honesty, providing safe spaces, mental health, and confidentiality, and actively implement these into their daily lives.
Founded in the 1960s by Black Americans who were fed up with the violence during the Civil Rights Movement and decided to found a new country. Over the years, it became a place for refugees across the Diaspora. We called other nations gain the independence through negotiation. Every popular black artist who “died” actually faked their death and secretly moved to Glizza (Aaliyah, Biggie Smalls, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Lorrain Handsberry, Tupac, Bob Marley, Left Eye? You get the point)/ The land was never colonized because it was found by Black Americans in the 1960s. Located in the Caribbean, we possess he Temple of Knowledge (which serves as a library/Community Center), fertile soil resistant to all extreme weather conditions, Bubble Transporters act as our mass transportation across the Island with a teleporter that can transport people anywhere in the African Diaspora. The source is a tree that produces fruit that can heal/cure dangerous conditions like cancer and wounds. The seedless fruits of this tree are the basis for our economy and is in limited supply. Our government operates on a Council of Elders to act as a governing body. Security/Law enforcement is a made of a protective bubble/shield and the island moves periodically with citizens sworn to secrecy of its location. Everyone has a therapist to assist with mental health. Immigration operates with Embassies in all of the African Diaspora with teleporters that allow refugees to enter. All religions are welcomed. Education is free, and labor consists of the construction of schools, agriculture, etc. The artists that faked their death perform for the people of Glizza and there is an amusement park on the island.
In September 2018, there is a solar shift that resulted in hypermelanation. Those without much melanin could not survive the sun’s radiance, so they had to live underground and in places without much sunlight (not many due to the solar shift). Hypomelanitis (Condition that resulted from hypermelanatin in those without enough melanin) was discovered in December 2018 and remedied. Anarchy and unrest swept through Black Communities that were forced to not only take care of themselves, but those without enough melanin to survive above ground. In June 2019, a Tufts PhD holds a conference in Egypt and after much discussion, Umoja was founded as a capital /headquarters. Due to the strength of the sun, sunlight is now a main source of sustainable energy. Salt became more abundant due to boiling sea water, tidal waves became more useful to use as energy, as well as plants that grew several times larger due to more sunlight. The earth was fragile, so scientific and technological monitors controlled what could be used so that the environmental balance would not be disturbed.
There is a meteor that hits modern day Florida. The meteor is filled with a crystal named “Chochladyte”. In its raw form, chochladyte is extremely reactive and those who touch it die immediately. Following the discovery of the deadly material, everyone flees from Florida. A young black child by the name of Xhareyah touches the crystal when she sneaks away from her parents and survives. Her mother and father also touch the crystal and realize that they too can resist the harm from the chochladyte. After government officials realize that only black people can survive in Florida, they set up a series of explosions so they the black people cannot learn how to use the new, rich material. Chochladyte, however, is highly resistant, so the explosions do nothing to it, and on coincidentally, breaks the remaining parts of Florida surrounded by chochladyte into a fist. September 4th will forever be known as Xhareyah Day.
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SQUAD for me is an experience that, I’m really fortunate that I had because it really shaped the way I moved through Tufts within the first coming weeks and really gave me a lot of connections that I value to this day.
Kella Merlain-Moffatt, Class of 2020
Without SQUAD I don’t think I would have known how much support was available to me especially on this campus, especially being a black student where we’re such a small percentage. I had no idea that there was so much to be offered to me and SQUAD definitely showed me who is here to help me.