What Has Changed, What Lies Ahead


Subversion. Resistance. Revolutionary Acts.

This year’s virtual symposium provides an important opportunity to reflect on the last 25 years of the symposium, its themes, challenges, successes, and impact, as we look at the past, present, and future.


This year’s theme calls upon the Sankofa symbol as we consider what has changed, and what lies ahead. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated. The concept of “Sankofa” is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa and means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Visually and symbolically, “Sankofa” is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolizing the future) in its mouth. Source: University of Illinois Springfield, Dept. of African-American Studies.

Presenters & Panelists

Melanie Maldondo

Melanie Maldonado is a bombera, “artivist,” independent scholar, and education administrator with doctoral training in Performance Studies. She is an alumnus of The Smithsonian Institute for the Interpretation and Research of Latino Cultures and was a researcher for the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Evelyne Laurent Perrault

Evelyne Laurent Perrault, Ph. D. Currently an Assistant Professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara, Evelyne is well known to this symposium as a founder, and an Afro- Latina activist and scholar, born and raised in Venezuela from Haitian and Venezuelan parents. She has studied, lived, and traveled through Europe, Africa, Latin America, North America, and the Caribbean.

Edison Viera-Calderón, Ph. D. From Santurce, Puerto Rico, social and health psychologist works as a professor in the Department of Social Sciences in the General Studies Faculty at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. His primary area of research involves deepening the theory and practice of the day today, and of the social and collective memory.

* san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take

Symbol of the importance of learning from the past.  African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” 

One of the Sankofa symbols is portrayed visually and symbolically as a mythical bird that has its head turned back, a valuable egg (the future) within its mouth, and its legs firmly facing forward as it flies.

For more information please contact/Para más información llame a: Dominic Moret at 215.426.3311 or email Nasheli Ortiz Gonzalez at
Thank you to our sponsors!

Virtual Symposium | Saturday, February 26th, 9:30-4:30

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